More and more people think the rise of the robots is coming. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence mean that machines are poised to do more and more jobs once done by humans. This could be wonderful: it could free humans from drudgery and provide a better life for everyone.
Or it could be hell: a nightmare world where vast numbers of people are unemployed or surplus to requirements, while a small elite of machine-owners and technologists reap all the benefits. Some have argued that the widening gap between the rich and the poor is a sign that this is already happening.
To discuss the coming revolution, we were joined by:
- Frances Coppola - Associate Editor at Pieria, @frances_coppola
- Dr. Nick Hawes - Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Robotics at the University of Birmingham, @hawesie
- Izabella Kaminska - Reporter for the Financial Times Alphaville service, @izakaminska
- Elly Truitt - Assistant Professor of Comparative Medieval History at Bryn Mawr College
- Ryan Avent - Economics Correspondent, The Economist, @ryanavent
- Carlota Perez - Professor of Technology and Development, LSE and University of Tallinn
The event marked the launch of Nesta's new book Our Work Here is Done which looks at the frontiers of robot technology and the consequences for the economy and our society.
Following the discussion with the book's contributors, Nesta's HQ was taken over by the robots themselves. As well as demonstrations of some fantastically cool robot tech, we heard presentations from engineers, hackers, designers, historians and philosophers.
- James Auger - Designer and Lecturer, Royal College of Art
- Amol Deshmukh - Research Associate, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, @amoldeskmukh18
- Rich Walker & Juan Laforga - Shadow Robot
- Ben Russell - Curator of Mechanical Engineering at the Science Museum
- Dr Yiannis Demiris - Reader (Associate Professor) in Personal Robotics, Imperial College London
- Wayne Tubby - RAL Space