DIY check-outs, drones, self-driving cars, and e-government: all are signs of the coming auto-industrial age. Will this end in mass unemployment or will new kinds of work emerge? Will 3D print production, desktop workshops and mass customization make up for lost blue-collar jobs? What will happen to health and education in the auto-industrial age? Will machines replace teachers and doctors? What might the economic and social future dominated by self-employment and a large DIY industry look like? Peter Murphy’s lively, provocative book addresses these questions head-on.
THE ROBOTS ARE COMING
A lot of the technology that the auto-industrial society uses is familiar to us. This is typical of technological change. It begins slowly. It tends to have a long gestation period before being widely applied. The idea of automation is an old one. In classical Greek antiquity, Aristotle speculated about machines that moved by themselves. He imagined self-moving looms and lyres. He thought that if such machines were to exist then neither servants nor slaves would be necessary. Little under the sun is new. There were designs for automata in the ancient Hellenistic period. Leonardo da Vinci sketched an idea for a robot knight. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot’s first approximation of the automobile — a steam-powered tricycle — appeared in 1769. Karl ...