Last week’s poll: coping with robots

In the current edition of The Engineer Prof Noel Sharkey and Aimee van Wynsberghe look at how increasing use of robots in manual and routine, repetitive tasks might have detrimental effects on society.

They note that Bill Gates has suggested that users of robots should pay some sort of levy which would then be used to compensate workers made redundant by this automation.

Is it time to consider a universal basic income, partly funded by such a levy? Should we accept that some jobs are now firmly in the domain of automation, and ensure that we focus education and training on those jobs that demand the skills and/or judgement of humans (which we might call ‘human jobs’)? Or do you believe that robots create more jobs than they destroy?

From the 333 respondents to our poll, a third (33 per cent) agreed that society could cope with the increasing use of robots by improving training for ‘human jobs’.

Just over a quarter (28 per cent) agreed that funds from a levy on robots could help to fund a universal basic income, whilst just over a fifth (22 per cent) took the view that robots create more jobs than they destroy.

The remaining 17 per cent was split between those agreed that a ‘robot levy’ should compensate redundant workers (9 per cent) and those that couldn’t find a fit with their views, electing instead to chose the ‘none of the above’ option (8 per cent).

What do you think? Let us know via Comments below.