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Tech
News18 » Tech
2-min read

Robots may even replace techies who program them: Researchers

The researchers have proposed that even software developers could face a future in which their skills are no longer needed and their incomes drop precipitously.

IBNLive.com

Updated:February 22, 2015, 2:37 PM IST
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Robots may even replace techies who program them: Researchers
The researchers have proposed that even software developers could face a future in which their skills are no longer needed and their incomes drop precipitously.

New Delhi: Researchers have warned that robots may even replace coders, the very people who program these machines to perform tasks, in the near future.

The researchers -- Boston University's Seth Benzell, Laurence Kotlikoff, and Guillermo LaGarda, and Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs -- have proposed that even software developers could face a future in which their skills are no longer needed and their incomes drop precipitously.

These coder-robots will reduce the need for human-produced software to mere maintenance operations and big techies could soon have to look for other jobs. A report in Infoworld said that the researchers aren't predicting an apocalypse, but merely saying that the wages of the developers and programmers will drop, demand will decline, investors will make smaller returns, and the capital needed for future tech booms won't accumulate.

In their "Robots are us: Some economics of human replacement," the authors have said that the our economy is entering a new type of boom-and-bust cycle that accelerates the production of new products and new code so rapidly that supply outstrips demand. The solution to that shortage will be to figure out how not to need those hard-to-find human experts.

In a situation where the demand for software developers is at an all-time high, it could soon lead to a burst because with so much code produced overtime some of it enables smart machines to actually learn to perform new tasks or become so adept at their tasks that there's no need to spend money to make them even smarter.

Giving the example of Junior, the reigning World Computer Chess Champion, the researchers explained that the machine can beat every current and, possibly, every future human on the planet. Consequently, his old code has largely put new chess programmers out of business. Similarly the demand for new code shrinks, coders lose their jobs or are reduced to performing routine maintenance, updates, and repairs.

Meanwhile, a company called Narrative Science, founded by researchers from Northwestern University, has discovered that they could develop a software that can write basic sports stories and also produce corporate earnings content.

The researchers opine that the entire economy will suffer as people have less money to spend, which reduces the demand for goods and services. Less demand means less capital accumulates, so investment that would have funded the next boom stagnates.

Solution? The researchers suggest that society could take steps to lessen the impact of the smart machine-boom and one possible remedy is a tax on workers who benefit from a technological breakthrough during a boom. That money could be set aside and used to pay a stipend during a bust, keeping them afloat and ensuring a steady supply of capital.

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