The tale of John Henry
One day, in post-Civil War America, a salesman wheeled into a West Virginian railroad construction site. He claimed that his new steam-powered drill could outwork any man and offered a demonstration in the form of a contest. A group of workers gathered, inspecting the machine through furrowed brows. Towering above the crowd, a man toting an anvil-like hammer stepped forward. John Henry, a recently freed slave accepted the challenge. His fellow workers cheered Henry on as he outpaced the machine for over 30 minutes, much to the salesman's chagrin. Unfortunately, his victory was short lived. Exhausted, John Henry collapsed and died, hammer in hand.
Noun. Frankenstein complex (plural Frankenstein complexes) The fear of mechanical men.
The story of John Henry acts as an allegory of man's foredoomed struggle against machines. The fear of obsolescence, the fear of our creations bringing harm to us. Are you concerned about the impact of automation?
Do you fear mechanical men?
Too much? Okay, let's step back a bit. It makes sense to have reservations about robotics, A.I., and automation's role in our future; but, that future is coming sooner than later. As software continues to improve, robotic actuators and sensors are also becoming more affordable and reliable. Low-cost, intelligent automation will be globally disruptive.
Intelligent automation will replace many of today's jobs, but that can be a great thing.
So, why should we say, "hello" to robots?
Automation enables us to do more.
Automation grants time to people, time that was previously only afforded to the affluent. The wealthy have always had staff to clean their clothes, wash their dishes and sweep their floors, freeing them to do more. With automation, working class consumers can enjoy that reclaimed time. Just as the rich have always had personal chefs and drivers, soon upper and middle class consumers will have access to food preparation robots and self-driving vehicles, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
If robots did "everything," what would people do?
More specifically, what would you do? Would you
be less likely or more likely to pursue your dreams, your ambitions? Plato said, "necessity is the mother of invention," but without the necessity of work, would humanity continue to invent?
A Gentle Disturbance
so on and so forth.
A 'gentle disturbance' changes the way a perceiver views a familiar structure or landscape.
Collaborative artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, best known for their site specific installations, re-created environments by wrapping entire buildings, bridges and islands in fabric. The result, a disturbance in the viewer's grasp of scale, permanence and the very model used to form their perception.
We will see increased automation across the board, from farms to grocery stores and many areas in between. We will see automation on construction sites with 3D printed concrete homes and automation in shipping with autonomous trucks and last-mile delivery robots. Humanity will continue to automate,
When disruptive technology
... At least, we believe so.
We believe that inherently, humans are explorers, creators and problem solvers. We also believe that giving more people opportunity to spend time sowing their dreams, will yield a greater return, including for those who benefit from our current system. Speaking of the rich, do you support an automation tax?
Our purpose is using the tools of automation to expand human agency, individually and collectively. Our vision is to create a world of abundance through scaling
Empathic Automation is a human-centered approach to automation. Utilizing automation to improve human well-being.
We started building friendly robots back in 2013 with MAKI. Our goal was to design an open-source, social humanoid robot that could invoke empathy and make people feel comfortable interacting with it. As MAKI has evolved over the years, so too has our company and mission.
We take an empathic design approach, meaning that we pay special attention to the user's feelings towards our product, from the design to it's social impact. We are aware of the negative stigmas associated with automation and so we continue to design robots which invoke an empathy response, but that is just the first step.
Our goal is to create automation which improves human well-being. We care about you and the impact our products have on your life.