Friday, January 5, 2007


"Sorting out the work that should be done by machines and the work that should be done by people is not easy. We are learning more about the ways men and machines mix and the ways they do not. We use machines to replace men when the work is in some way considered "inhuman"-- when it is too heavy, too repetitive, too dangerous, too minute or delicate for human beings.

We should realize that as robots become more complex, the more likely it will be that they will make mistakes. They will break down, grow old, get dirty, get tired. We are beginning to realize that the more complicated robots become, the more their breakdowns will resemble human breakdowns.

In most cases, the robots introduced into industry have been accepted. Now that we need no longer fear what machines will do to us, we are freer to choose what it is we want machines to do for us. In choosing, we we need to come to terms once again with what it is that makes us human. We have never before been at so decisive a turning point. The choices we make now will affect us for centuries to come."

--from COPING WITH ROBOTS, by Robert Malone, pub. 1978.