The business reporter Sheelah Kolhatkar has recently written for The New Yorker about a wave of advances in robotic technology that will have dangerous implications for our economy and political stability. As more and more factories automate, many workers have found employment in warehouses, performing jobs where human dexterity and brains still hold a strong edge over clumsy robots that can’t recognize unfamiliar objects very well. But as robots advance in gripping skills, visual recognition, and problem solving, a dangerous wave of unemployment may loom. Kolhatkar speaks with a roboticist, an economist, and the C.E.O. of a robotics company, Symbotic, which is taking the people out of warehouses. Symbotic’s robots don’t earn pay, they don’t need health insurance—they don’t even need lights or heating to operate. Plus, Fabio Bertoni, The New Yorker’s lawyer, reveals what he does on the very rare occasions when he’s not at work.
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