Capital Ideas Blog

Robots, robots everywhere

By Chelsea Vail
August 13, 2014

From: Blog


The robot revolution started off innocently enough—a drone-waiter here, a book-retrieval crane there. And of course, there are Google’s self-driving cars. Good, clean robot fun.

My friends, the future is here. Robots are not only vacuuming our floors and carrying our luggage (hat tip to Tyler Cowen), they are making it possible for mining operations to economize on skilled labor with a five-to-one truck-to-driver ratio. Meaning, one driver can operate five trucks at the same time (hat tip to Brad DeLong).  

What effect is this having on labor markets? Are robots contributing to inequality? For this, we turned to the experts—Peter Marsh, former manufacturing editor for the Financial Times and author of The New Industrial Revolution, joined Chicago Booth’s Brent Neiman and Northwestern’s Matthew J. Notowidigdo on an episode of our Big Question video series to discuss the rise of the machines.


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