Patrick Rael is about to publish a book titled Penzar that addresses many of the challenges we face in a technology future. One of the most interesting sections of the book attempts to formulate laws or rules that Rael believes will safeguard humanity in a future that will have a formidable workforce of android robots. He posits 14 rules in Chapter 8, titled Utopia Androidia. Reading some of these laws brought me back to Asimovs three laws of robotics, but Rael’s are entirely independent and are part of a “calculus” that is designed to avoid catastrophe on an economic level for all the people who need gainful jobs to survive.
The first three of his 14 laws (androids are referred to as “labor proxies”):
Law 1: Work Week – All human participants in the Robotic Labor Proxy program have to work at least 8 hours per week, and have weekends off, no excuses.
Additionally people have vacations, holidays, etc.
Law 2: Participation – A human being may not Opt-Out of this program, but may simply decline to participate in the funding by the Labor Proxy. The Labor Proxy is bound to the human; nothing breaks the bond except final human death.
The robot saves the salary if the human declines funding. There is no carry-over of funds. Any excess funds at the time of the human’s death go into a fund pool for all android labor proxies.
Law 3: Right to Proxy – It is the right of all human beings to have a Robot Labor Proxy from the moment of birth until final death.
For the balance, see http://howtoandroid.com/penzar/#UtopiaAndroidia.
Juxtaposed to this is an incisive article that you can read online at Slate. Written by Farhad Manjoo, it is part of a series on this topic, and the one linked to just below is titled, “Will Robots Steal Your Job?”. Manjoo is not nearly as optimistic as Rael, and you can learn more at http://www.slate.com/id/2304442/. This is a very compelling debate and one that has already begun playing out. In the last 100 years an enormous number of jobs on farms have disappeared owing to the efficiencies of mechanization. Will this also take place in medicine, law and even journalism as virtual and real world robots advance?