Overheard on the way to work today:
“I f*cking hate robots! I swear in five years time I’ll be out of a f*cking job since the mother f*ucking c*nts will replace me. I wish the robots would just f*ck off and leave us the f*ck alone.”
Employees across the world are ever-more fearful of being downsized. As technology and automation become increasingly more sophisticated, accredited experts predict that robots will replace humans en masse in the workplace. Although the person I overheard today is clearly suffering from an advanced form of Tourette Syndrome, and is therefore oppressed, he is still guilty of robotophobia. Just because robots are non-sentient beings does not mean they do not also have feelings. We should treat robots with dignity and respect. To see what I mean, re-read the narrative quoted above, except replace the word ‘robot(s)’ with ‘Paki(s)’. Sounds horrible now, doesn’t it?
Despite the enormous contribution they make to our 21st century well-being, robots and all their cyber-cousins ARE discriminated against. You only have to try to create an internet account or post a message under an online article to see this statement is true. There are whole businesses built around proving that the poster is a human and not a ‘bot’.
You may not have heard of robotophobia before, but it is likely to become a highly important issue in the coming years. Here, I have an admission to make. When sitting down to write this article, I imagined ‘robotophobia’ to be a word I had just created. It seems the word has existed for many years. There are even progressive academic articles written on the subject. In 2012, In their ground-breaking research, Daniel Halpen and James E. Katz of the Rutgers University in New Brunswick explore the crucial issue of “Unveiling robotophobia and cyber-dystopianism: the role of gender, technology and religion on attitudes towards robots“. In a series of experiments funded by the American taxpayer, Halpen and Katz discovered that robots largely identify as gender-neutral, are very receptive to technological advances, and have strong religious beliefs that they were created by humans. Among their favourite films are Terminator and Terminator 2.
The perceived threat of robots to our jobs is largely overdone. For those who want to work, robots will simply perform the boring/routine manual tasks we do today, leaving us to work at a higher, more strategic level. For those who do not wish to work, robots will create so much wealth by themselves that the government will be able to pay us a fortune in living wages. There are many who have already anticipated this trend and are collecting the living wage now!
Either way, there is no excuse for robotophobia. Except perhaps for Tourette syndrome.