Boston Dynamics’ BigDog learns how to throw:
Free Exchange argues that the increasing sophistication of robots isn’t necessarily a threat to workers:
At airline check-in counters, say, computers are displacing employees from mundane tasks like printing boarding passes. That makes it easier for the humans to respond to unexpected problems like cancelled flights or changed itineraries.
Machines serve as both a substitute for, and a complement to, labour in other industries. Watson is initially assisting doctors to make cancer-treatment decisions, by providing options along with the associated degrees of confidence; it may eventually replace doctors in some diagnostic work. In other cases, robots may raise demand for doctors’ services. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes that though robotically assisted surgeries do not necessarily bring better results than minimally invasive human-only surgeries, it is much easier for doctors to learn and master robotically assisted techniques. Robot-aided surgery could therefore make some procedures cheaper and more widely available.
Avent follows up:
Automation will claim ever more productive tasks, including, perhaps, in skilled professions accustomed to being spared the disruptive impacts of technological change. But for the foreseeable future, the human advantage in cognitive flexibility and interpersonal interactions will be fairly secure. For workers across the spectrum of educational attainment, those abilities will be a prime source of value to employers.