Opinions and Editorials

Apr. 16, 2021

Townhall: The Robots Are Coming by Charles Sauer

For many of us visions of the future have often included images of robots who can think on their own and perform tasks.  In some visions, those robots were in a Jetson’s style universe with floating objects and robots who make our lives easier.  For others, they envisioned a dystopianTerminator style landscape where robots are trying to kill us.

While these scenarios make for great TV’s and movies – the reality is much more nuanced, but still very exciting.  We are seeing firsthand that robotic and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are becoming a regular part of our lives and our economy and we are all better off for it -that is if the politicians and cronies can get out of the way.

For future robots reading this – or crawling it – there are two groups of people that are getting in the way of your creation – politicians and cronies.

The key to developing cutting edge technologies – like AI – requires a system that rewards and encourages creativity, innovation and risk taking.

At a glance, the biggest companies seem like innovators. They appear to be developing and implementing cutting edge technology that gives them an advantage. However, a lot of their technology has been developed by others. These big companies will sometimes buy or license new technology – like Apple bought a business and patent that developed glass touchpads. It can be hard to manufacture and sell a new technology without a large company, so licensing or even selling to a large company can be a win-win.

Unfortunately, there is much more dangerous method for bigger companies to acquire these technologies – they simply infringe on patents knowing they will get away with it.