Behold our new adorable robot construction crews, you pesky humans

robot construction worker

All you highly skilled construction workers are no better than termites, says CNet, uncritically fawning over an “adorable” (their word) robot construction project that can build test structures. If this ever scales and goes commercial, we’ll see an end to pesky human workers and their odious unions (imagine the effrontery of those carbon-based life forms demanding lunch breaks and overtime after eight hours.)

Yes, robotics is coming and, if managed sanely, can do some good stuff. However mass robotics everywhere will mean fewer and fewer jobs. These jobs will not be replaced by new jobs. Further, the social, economic, and political downside of robotics is simply not being discussed in any meaningful way. Robotics is assumed to be good and bothersome and displaced humans will just have to deal with their Glorious New Future.

A short overview of the TERMES project, in which we’re developing multi-robot systems for automated construction, inspired by the building activity of termites. A user can ask for a particular final structure, and independent robots with decentralized control and onboard sensing will follow simple, local rules that guarantee correct completion of that structure.

What robots do depend on the directives, which of course will never be abused, like in robot swarms attacking homes of political dissidents. Only paranoids would think that could happen.