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Will androids save or destroy our economy?

Primitive androids i.e. fully mobile computers with Watson-like intelligence will have visual and auditory acuity; they will serve as caregivers for the baby boomers.

Within 20 years they will have the diagnostic skills of a Harvard-educated doctor, know the signs of a stroke, heart attacks in men and women which present differently, diagnose other health issues, call 911 sooner and save lives. They will do many of the tasks that a care giver would do e.g. monitor meds, be alert, never tire or get bored and they will regale their patients with everything from idle banter to bawdy limericks.

Within 50 years mass-produced fully “human” androids speaking all languages will cost less than $100,000; at this time they will give shots, draw blood, change IV's, and do all the tasks an RN would other wise do. They will dominate care within intensive care units, greatly reduce hospital-borne diseases through superior hygiene, reduce medication errors and replace 4-6 full time staff i.e. work as an RN a 160 + hour work week and handle all administrative duties. They will also dominate nursing home care. Most repetitive jobs paying minimum wage can be done economically by androids.

Whoever controls android manufacturing in the 21st Century, a $10 trillion industry, will have an economic engine for a century; however, by the year 2100, there will be 100 million unemployed Americans, a permanent underclass.

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    Nov 26 2013: This economy is not worth saving. It's better we let this economy collapse and rethink this financial system to a global non-monetary system. Androids and AI stuff can take care of everyone.

    We are technologically advanced enough to get rid of wars and money altogether.

    We're just not wise enough.
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      Dec 24 2013: Precisely! It often seems that we are stubbornly fighting the inevitable.

      The various "isms" have served their respective purposes to get us to where we are now, but I think it is time to acknowledge current trends (computers, robots and automation eliminating the need for human labor) and move toward a resource-based society.

      The sooner we ALL work on this together, the sooner we will eliminate any (technological, social) challenges.
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    Dec 6 2013: You might like this documentary, it's going to happen faster then you expect. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SuGRgdJA_c
  • Nov 29 2013: Think we are a lot closer than you indicate. It will not be a true android but more flexible and "smarter" robots. Today, the cost of running a modern robot is roughly 2 dollars an hour with a effective lifespan of 5 years - decreasing costs after 5 years.

    On the other side, we will see home manufacturing for some personal items, maybe even clothes.

    Eventually we will reach the android and we already have many robots in hospitals. They will increase and may even start aiding nurses and doctors.

    We can not stop it, it will come and for many it will be good but it will replace more people out of work - need to develop a plan to handle this.
  • Sarah T

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    Nov 28 2013: If the androids are anything like the robots envisioned by Isaac Asimov, then I for one welcome them. They may be the only thing capable of saving us from ourselves.
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    Nov 25 2013: i can't imagine a future where there exists that kind of technology while humans still cling to this archaic economic system.

    maybe there will be an effect similar to the way the internet has changed the way information flows.

    perhaps we will find androids ushering in a utopia where people are free to never work again and the besuited bankers and profiteers will go the way of the dinosaur.
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      Nov 26 2013: Unfortunately there are no known meteors which such selective impact ... :o)
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    Dec 24 2013: Richard, your description of androids in healthcare is (obviously) just the tip of the iceberg. A brief - and informal - survey of global automation trends reveals an astonishing landscape of intelligent machines replacing (if not augmenting) human labor.

    I am confident that continued progress in this direction will necessitate the replacement of our current monetary system with one that directly supplies a hierarchical set of resources to the global population. Such a "new" system would be guided by the self-evident directive that all people are entitled (but not limited) to clean water, healthy food, safe shelter, state-of-the-art healthcare, a broad education, and a right to travel freely. Managed wisely - with the assistance of a global, computerized database - there should be enough resources to provide everyone with a quality standard of living.

    So, to return to your question, YES, androids (computers and automation) can "save" our economy by helping us to transform it into something that makes sense for the 21st century and beyond.
    • Dec 24 2013: When you factor in that one android in health care (I suspect mass produced for under 100k) can do the work of 4 RN's each making $70-$80,000/year and the cost savings are obvious. But what do we do with the vast mass of unemployed people?
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    Nov 29 2013: I think it's people who can save or destroy androids as well as our economy.
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    Nov 26 2013: Our economy does not need androids to destroy itself. Thats already an inbuilt 'feature' ... :o) And hey, as long as low labor cost countries can be exploited, even mass produced androids can't compete against human bargain resources.