We Need to Talk about the Burgeoning Robot Middle Class

Maybe it’s not the super-robots we need to fear, but the ones just good enough to displace one worker’s salary.

Consider the automated checkout line at your local grocery store. It makes more mistakes than a human clerk, it is harder to use, and it is slower because of the rotating error light that loves to interrupt the whole process every few minutes. Is it better than a human? Of course not. It is simply good enough. And so begins the march of mediocre robots that can defensibly replace humans, not because they advantage the customer, but because they save money for a corporation. Robots will be able to fix your car poorly before they can fix it well. They will cook food that is bland and mealy before they garner a Michelin star. But they will take on middle-class jobs and win, not because of their qualitative merits, but because they look good in the antiseptic light of financial balance sheets. –via MIT Technology Review.

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