You are here: Home Articles Weekly Insight

Things to think about

The Robots Are Coming

by Donald Geddes — last modified Mar 14, 2015 04:50 PM
Now that Baxter the Robot can see, robots are breaking out of factories and taking up jobs in the community. This Baxter robot at Q.U.T. can pick capsicums but will soon be able to manage many more tasks in the community.

More and more robots are taking over manual work. Robots now milk the cows at the Scenic Rim Dairy at Tamrookum. They assemble cars, make iPhones, vacuum clean homes and perform an increasing number of other tasks. Are they taking over our jobs in the future?

At the coming of the Industrial Revolution early in the 19th Century there were those like the Luddites who feared machines replacing hand labour. The I.T. revolution of the 20th century also caused many to fear their jobs would be lost. Now the 21st century sees the rise of robots as a threat to employment.

Should we fear the coming of the robots?

Just as the Industrial Revolution and the I.T. revolution brought great improvements in standards of living, so too will the Robotic revolution. Replacing manual labour with machine production will continue to improve our well-being.

Machines will replace unskilled and repetitive tasks, removing boring jobs. But automation will also make advances in more skilled professions. For example computing systems are increasingly being used in the healthcare sector to diagnose diseases and other ailments, and automated dispensing systems accurately measure medicinal dosages for patients.

We should welcome rather than fear such advances because they are all in God’s plan for mankind.

When God created man in His image, he implanted in man the desire to be creative like He is. Genesis 1:27-28: So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

The command to fill the earth and subdue it implies the need for man to work in a creative way to harness and utilise the resources God has provided. To “subdue” is not used in the sense of overcoming. Rather it means to use thought, skill and energy to unlock the resources for the benefit of man.

The skill to make and invent comes from God. In Exodus 31 when the Tabernacle was being constructed, we read that the Lord said to Moses,“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.”

God gives men the ability to invent, make scientific discoveries and to adapt what they have to meet new needs. As our population increases, we are to discover new ways to provide food and other necessities.

Because of this we can assume that God has provided all that is necessary for the feeding and support of however many people will eventually inhabit His earth.

Mankind has the responsibility to unlock the God-given resources as they are needed.

Since the Fall, sinful man has uses his creativity for both good and bad. Much effort has been expended on producing weapons of war to bring death and destruction. However, even these discoveries have often been adapted for the benefit and welfare of the population.

So, while invention and creativity has brought suffering and evil, it has also improved the standards of living and enjoyment of millions.

When we think of the inventions of the last 100 years and how they have changed the world and improved our standard of living, we should thank God.

Certainly, the robots are coming, but scientific advances are not to be feared because that are part of God’s providence.