When Robots Attack


Posted on June 19, 2014 by Ruth O’Brien

Sharks, on sea, land, and air, kill more Americans than robots do.  And to be sure, there are a lot of summer blockbusters about sharks and other water monsters. Still, robot killings have long taken center stage, and now John Markoff and Claire Cain Miller feature OSHA’s stats that robots have killed about one person a year since the mid-1980s. Again, this is fewer than are killed by sharks. Yet, with all the press about personal robots emerging (e.g. The Economist,Science), they are becoming more of an option for the über-rich to employ.

Robots who are supposed to work in cages no longer need to be restricted to auto factories. I guess we can look forward to Robocop variations next summer; perhaps it will say, “Coming soon to you: Robo maid kills non-robo master or mistress.” It could be set on Wall Street or in the Bloomberg building on the Upper East Side.

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Faculty/Core-Bios/Ruth-O-Brien)

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