This is a topic we’re not going to stop hearing about: the threat to jobs from robots, or artificial intelligence. Robots can be taught to do one thing, and another, and they can perform those tasks well, but they still struggle to work in the same way as a person. A human has a mix of skills, flexibility, and judgement, something that cannot easily be automated.
But the new jobs panic is exaggerated and misplaced. For one thing, political and social caution may block some of the potential uses, such as self-driving cars. For another, many jobs will continue to require a blend of skills, flexibility and judgement that is difficult to automate. David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that such employment requires “tacit” expertise that cannot readily be codified.
A good job too. I’m (still) writing a book that’s set 400 years in the future. Robots and artificial intelligence feature. They do much of our heavy lifting, but people still have jobs of a sort. It seems to me there’d be no story if robots performed every last function, and people didn’t even need to do trivial things, such as make phone calls.
It’s a fan made film, so I know you sometimes need to be in the right place, at the right time, to hear about these sorts of things, but I’m still not sure how I missed Star Wars Downunder. Made by filmmaker Michael Cox in 2013, “Downunder” brings a distinctly Australian taste, in the form of beer no less, to the popular sci-fi saga.
This is a red-letter week for fans of the Star Wars films, with the first of the Anthology series movies, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, opening on 15 December. I doubt I’ll be going to the one minute past midnight screenings that some cinemas are scheduling, but I’m sure I’ll have seen it by this time next week.
“I think the fans are going to love it. It’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”
How circumspect is that? The Force Awakens wasn’t quite the film I’d hoped to see, and I think J.J. Abrams went a little too far with his penchant for rehashing earlier storylines. Whether Rogue One will be a good film, or a better one, remains to be seen, but there’s no harm in keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping for the best.
In the meantime, immerse yourself a in little more of the Star Wars hype, with another of the latest batch of Rogue One trailers.