What should we really fear?

  • Article by: EDITORIAL BOARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 27, 2013 - 5:19 PM

Top thinkers fret about technology's impact on humanity.

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  • Comments

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owatonnabillJan. 28, 13 8:24 AM

Owatonnabill to Daughter, "have you learned to use a slide rule yet?" Daughter to owatonnabill: "Dad! We use CALCULATORS now in school!" Owatonnabill to Granddaughter, "have you learned to use a slide rule yet?" Granddaughter to owatonnabill, "What's a slide rule?" Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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rlwr51Jan. 28, 1310:22 AM

We shouldn't be afraid of anything. Fear of anything is always worse than the thing itself. No decisions shoud be made in an emotional state. Although some people confuse fear (and anger) with logic, it is an emotional state. If the author means concern, that's a different matter and allows for rational thought to rule. As Winston Churchill said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Also, when fear rules, actions are very predictable and means that terrorism has won.

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Slider451Jan. 28, 1312:08 PM

I'm most concerned about technology permanently eliminating jobs before our culture can adapt. Unlike past revolutions that created new jobs to replace the old, computers and robots are rapidly taking away middle-class manufacturing jobs with nothing to fill the void. When one's identity and livelihood is defined by our work, what do we do when there isn't any work to be found? Our current government entitlement programs cannot sustain the millions this will affect in our lifetimes. The haves (the rich, corporations) appear to be saying, "it's their problem, let them starve". Revolutions have started from such conditions. Ultimately, we need to redefine the role of work in a post-scarcity society.

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davehougJan. 28, 13 5:20 PM

owatonnabill: slide rules: Tell your grand-daughter we designed the equipment to get to the moon by adding & subtracting instead of multiplying & dividing thru the use of logarimethic (spell?) scales. Also a computer can NOT multiply or divide...... however it is REALLY good at adding & subtracting fast.

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bootsy07Jan. 28, 13 9:15 PM

Slider451, I share your concerns. Anyone who saw what Watson, IBM's Jeopardy crushing computer did in mastering natural English questions, puns and wordplay, should see the writing on the wall. They are now working on an Oncology version of Watson. You won't need the machine in every clinic, just Internet. Such machine experts could be in many fields in 10 years, and I'm sorry, this eliminates more jobs than it will create, just as factory robots have eliminated jobs.

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theruntFeb. 13, 13 8:10 PM

I worry about those guys smashing atoms at the Cern laboratory.

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