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Communications of the ACM


Robots Are Coming

Robots Are Coming, illustration

Credit: Alicia Kubista / Andrij Borys Associates

There has been considerable debate recently in academia and among policy makers regarding the role of technology in general and particularly robotics and intelligent systems in creating or reducing jobs. U.S. President Obama and other politicians expressed concerns on hollowing the middle class, concentrating the wealth in a few, and leaving the rest of U.S. citizens behind. Hence, it behooves the responsible scientists and IT practitioners (especially robotics workers) to examine the issues and think about what should be done to create a just, fair, and democratic society. While robots can replace not only the manual work but can combine the manual work with intellectual work, the fundamental question is: How to distribute the benefits of this work?

In this Viewpoint, I examine the social and economic consequences of the third revolution, which combines information and communication technologies with robotics.


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