Economics, Religion and Why We (The West) Don’t Want Robots.

Computerisation, automation and interconnected networks have allowed for certain social conditions and convictions to arise. Such social constructs help form an ambiguous ‘cyberculture,’ associated with automation and assembly. Economics and cultural assumptions of capitalism, that of a ‘postcapitalist’ society and ultimately religion lie within the centre of arguments relative to robotics (Wohlsen, M. 2014).   

Mercedes-Benz demonstrates the integration of automation and human resources through introduction of ‘robot farming’ (Gibbs, S. 2016).  However, the language used by Benz delivers the assumption that this is a present consideration until technology overcomes that of human capital. Santini (2016) builds upon this illustrating that robotics will eventually outpace human development. Demonstrating an attitude towards human capacity decreasing to the point of mass unemployment.

Such rhetoric and expression of fear associated with employment and automation can be considered unwarranted, with Wells (2014) attributing through automation our socio-economic principles may change to the point of universal basic income, a form social security in which unconditional income is received on individual basis (BIEN, 2015). Additionally the relationship between religious credence and automation, employment and ultimately intelligent AI can be related to the display of societal fear. To illustrate such the segment of Shinto faith that is Animism, illustrates the belief that all entities, even those constructed by humans have a spiritual essence. Idolatry, the creation of life through assuming the position of a ‘false god,’ in Western religion is considered sinful (Mims, C. 2010). Thus the negative associations of automation in the West can correlate to that of humanity as creators, and contrast to that of Asian doctrine holding spiritual significance to that of robotics.

 

Reference:

Gibbs, S. (2016) Mercedes-Benz swaps robots for people on its assembly line, The Guardian, viewed 05-03-16 <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/26/mercedes-benz-robots-people-assembly-lines>

Santini, J. L. (2016) Intelligent robots threaten millions of jobs, Technology, phys.org, viewed 07-03-16 <http://phys.org/news/2016-02-intelligent-robots-threaten-millions-jobs.html>

Wells, T. (2014) The Robot Economy and the Crisis of Capitalism: Why We Need Universal Basic Income, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, viewed 04-03-16 <http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/07/17/4048180.htm>  

Wholsen, M. (2014) When Robots Take All Work, What Will Be Left For Us To Do? Business, Wired.com, viewed 04-03-16 <http://www.wired.com/2014/08/when-robots-take-all-the-work-whatll-be-left-for-us-to-do/>

Mims, C. (2010) Why Japanese Love Robots (And Americans Fear Them), MIT Technoloy Review, viewed 04-03-16 <https://www.technologyreview.com/s/421187/why-japanese-love-robots-and-americans-fear-them />

Unknown Author, (2015) What is basic income? BEIN, Basic Income Earth Network, viewed 04-03-16 <http://www.basicincome.org/basic-income/#history>

 

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