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Will Robots Steal Your Job?

Robots and computers have made astonishing progress at acquiring what we've long considered fundamentally human capabilities. Machines are beginning to understand language. They can listen, they can speak, they can read, and they may even be able to write. They're getting better at visual pattern recognition; computers can tell the difference between your face and your dad's face, and they may be able to look at a biopsy slide and tell the difference between a cancerous cell and a healthy one. Computers might even be able to "reason" the way humans can. Perhaps they'll soon sit in judgment when you appeal your traffic ticket.

FutureTense_logo2.gifWe’ve seen robots take over many jobs that require routine activities and manual labor, but what impact will they have on high-skilled workers, including medical professionals, lawyers, scientists, and journalists? Which jobs are most vulnerable to the “robot invasion,” and which jobs will the robots be unable to touch? (Hint: not many.) Should we be happy about the robots – after all, they'll probably make our jobs easier – or should we be worried? And if the robots are coming, should we try to stop them?

At this September 2011 event, Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo and a panel of experts explored these questions and more.  


3:30 p.m. – Can Robots Do Nuance?

Robbie Allen
Founder and CEO, Automated Insights, Inc.

Dr. Sarah Kramer
Primary care physician, University of Washington Medicine

Michael Schmidt
President, Nutonian, Inc.

4:15 p.m. – Slate Video: Robots on the Silver Screen

4:20 p.m. – Can the Economy Survive a Robot Uprising?

Dr. Tyler Cowen
Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics, George Mason University
Co-author, Marginal Revolution blog

Martin Ford
Author, The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future

Michael Lind
Policy Director, Economic Growth Program
New America Foundation

Event Time and Location

Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 3:30pm - 5:15pm
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Related Programs

Event Photos

Click here to view these photos.
A range of photos from this event are available on Flickr. Click on the icon at left to view or download the photos.

Video Clips

See video
After a somewhat grim talk, a video to make us feel better about our relationship with robots.
See video
Another use for a common, household robot.