Photograph: Samuel Goldwyn Films (Robot & Frank)

Photograph: Samuel Goldwyn Films (Robot & Frank)

My first outing with The Guardian newspaper, “When Robots Take Our Jobs,” seems to have struck a nerve. Last I looked, it had attracted 340 comments.

From the article:

“Will you be replaced by a machine? There’s nearly a 50-50 chance, according to a recent study by Oxford University researchers who found that 47% of the labor market in the US alone is at risk of being mechanized out of existence. Approximately 702 jobs thus far held by humans are now threatened by non-humans, as we were reminded by a widely shared report on the study this week.”

At the heart of the robots vs. humans conflict in the workplace is the nature of work itself, and why it is that we humans are supposed to take any old job we can to pay the bills.

What happens when all the jobs that can be done by robots are in fact taken over by them? And what happens to the cabbies, burger flippers, factory workers, and even hack journalists who get thrown out of work by worker drones? Will they have the luxury of pursuing more creative work that is ultimately of greater benefit to society?

That depends, as I say in the article, “on our fostering the kind of society that not only frees people from menial labor, but also enables them to reach their full human potential – not just go begging for want of a lousy job.”