El auge de los robots

BERKELEY – Durante décadas las personas han pronosticado cómo las tecnologías avanzadas de computación y robótica afectarán nuestras vidas. Por un lado, hay advertencias de que los robots desplazarán a los humanos en la economía, acabarán con sus medios de subsistencia, en especial para trabajadores poco calificados. Otros ven las perspectivas de las amplias oportunidades económicas que los robots ofrecerán, y señalan, por ejemplo, que aumentarán la productividad o realizarán empleos no deseados. El inversionista de capital de riesgo, Peter Thiel, que acaba de unirse al debate, es de los segundos y afirma que los robots evitarán un futuro de precios altos y salarios bajos.

Para tratar de ver cuál de los dos bandos tiene razón se necesita en primer lugar entender las seis maneras en que los seres humanos han creado valor durante la historia: mediante nuestras piernas, nuestros dedos, nuestras bocas, nuestros cerebros, nuestras sonrisas y nuestras mentes. Con nuestras piernas y otros músculos grandes movemos cosas hacia donde las necesitamos, de modo que nuestros dedos puedan ordenarlas en patrones útiles. Nuestros cerebros regulan las actividades de rutina y mantienen en funcionamiento el trabajo de las piernas y los dedos. Nuestras bocas –de hecho nuestras palabras, ya sean escritas o habladas, nos permiten informarnos y entretenernos mutuamente. Nuestras sonrisas nos ayudan a conectarnos con otros y aseguran que vayamos más o menos en la misma dirección. Por último, nuestras mentes –nuestra curiosidad y creatividad– identifican y solucionan desafíos importantes e interesantes.

Por su parte, Thiel refuta el argumento, que a menudo utilizan los agoreros de los robots, de que el impacto de la inteligencia artificial y la robótica avanzada sobre la fuerza de trabajo será similar a los efectos de la globalización sobre los trabajadores de los países avanzados. La globalización perjudicó a trabajadores poco calificados en lugares como los Estados Unidos, mientras permitía que personas de países lejanos compitieran por las funciones de piernas o dedos en la división global del trabajo. Como estos nuevos competidores pedían salarios más bajos, fueron la elección evidente para muchas compañías.

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