Technology

TED Radio Hour asks: “Do We Need Humans?”

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

Radio-Hour-HumansToday, TED Radio Hour asks two questions many of us are scared to pose: will human beings have a purpose as robots become more adept at performing tasks and projecting emotions? And as technology gets more advanced, how does interaction between human beings change?

Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?In this episode — the third in season two — Sherry Turkle explores whether the fact that technology allows us more points of communication actually makes us all feel more alone. Cynthia Breazeal predicts the rise of personal robots. Andrew McAfee imagines the future of work as droids take our jobs. And Abraham Verghese wonders if human touch may not be the best medical tool.

Check out your local NPR schedule to find out when the show airs today, or listen to it via NPR’s website »

Or head to iTunes, where the podcast is available now »

Comments (10)

  • Ahmad Fahmi Rozaki commented on Apr 2 2014

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  • Madrigal Desimere commented on Aug 20 2013

    Avoid this one. It’s so dumb, it ruins the whole concept. The challenges of human-robot interaction are far greater than portrayed in this pseudo-scientific nonsense. Please npr, screen these more thorougly.

  • Kim Crowley commented on May 1 2013

    I’m listening to “Do We Need Humans?” The guy from MIT does not sound like a scientist. He sounds and reasons like a charismatic cult leader. He proclaimed with great enthusiasm his “confidence” that the advent of robots will mean that humans are “freed up” to solve the problems of poverty and the environment. Unfortunately, this goes against the preponderance of evidence we have from broken promises of a tech utopia from our past.

    We were told that by the year 2000, the advent of the personal computer would mean that people would only have to work a 10-hour week and our biggest problem would be deciding how to use all our extra leisure time! That is NOT what happened obviously. Instead, the advent of the computer enabled greedy people with access to capital to greatly increase the concentration of wealth at the very top fraction of 1% while the middle and lower class wound up working more hours for much less income (corrected for inflation). Human labor was devalued because so much of it was replaced by computers. As result, hard-working Americans became increasingly likely face foreclosures and layoffs instead of a glowing tech utopia. These changes happened not only because technology devalued labor, but also because technology allowed for less transparency around rapid automated stock market transactions. Technology also enabled the elimination of responsible independent journalism that used to be on top of horribly damaging legislative acts such as the overturning of the Glass-Steagall Act.

    The evidence goes against robots creating more of a level playing field economically when technology has done the opposite so far in spite of similarly glowing predictions (or intentional distraction) of the past.

  • commented on Apr 28 2013

    Reblogged this on ¡Permiso, Albania! and commented:
    This is fascinating.

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  • commented on Mar 16 2013

    Reblogged this on teach kids 2 code and commented:
    Interesting discussion.

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  • commented on Mar 15 2013

    Reblogged this on Oxtapus *beta.