Wonkblog: Robots

Forget the haters. Grocery self-checkout is awesome.

Forget the haters. Grocery self-checkout is awesome.

Longtime Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo, who recently took his talents to the Wall Street Journal, leans pro-robot. He likes ATMs over the old bank tellers, he wrote Tuesday, and finds airline kiosks easier to deal with than flight attendants.

At grocery store self-checkout stands, though, he draws the line.

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Kevin Drum on why the robots will rise up and take all our jobs

Kevin Drum on why the robots will rise up and take all our jobs

Kevin Drum is a political blogger at Mother Jones, and previously wrote for The Washington Monthly and for his own blog, CalPundit. His latest piece for the print magazine concerns the effect that intelligent machines will have on our economy in the medium-run. We spoke on the phone Monday afternoon; a lightly edited transcript follows.

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How to punish robots when they inevitably turn against us

How to punish robots when they inevitably turn against us



Gabriel Hallevy is a professor at Ono Academic College's Faculty of Law in Kiryat Ono, Israel. He specializes in criminal law and in particular the interface between criminal law and new technologies, such as robots and other machines equipped with artificial intelligence. His work was recently featured in a Boston Globe article by Leon Neyfakh on the ability of the legal system to handle robots.

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The robo-surgeon will see you now

The Economist has an interesting piece on the Raven, a new, robot-assisted surgery device that has the potential to reduce the cost of speciality care in the United States:

Robot-assisted surgery today is dominated by the da Vinci Surgical System, a device that scales down a surgeon’s hand movements to let him make tiny incisions. That leads to less tissue damage, and thus a quicker recovery for patients. Almost 2,000 da Vincis have been made, and they are used in about 200,000 operations a year around the world, most commonly hysterectomies and prostate removals.

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How robots will replace doctors

How robots will replace doctors

Farhad Manjoo has a provocative thesis on the future of medicine: Robots will take the jobs. And not just the bottom-rung of jobs. “The doctors who are the juiciest targets for automation might not be the ones you’d expect,” he writes. They’re not the nurses or the primary-care docs. “They’re specialists like my wife — the most highly trained, highly paid people in medicine.”

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