Robots are becoming an integrated part of daily life. This blog is written by Colin W. Lewis, an economist, researcher, lecturer and international business and policy advisor, specialized in the social and economic impact of technological change with specific knowledge in the changing conditions of technology for productivity growth, development, labor, equality and competitiveness.
Although I have contributed to a variety of fields in economics my research generally focuses on topics within Behavioural Economics and Labor Economics, with a specific focus in technology automation, robotics and artificial intelligence and their impact on society.
I was previously founder and CEO of a software integration company, taking the business from start-up to stock-listing.
Whilst I do not think we are on the cusp of a ‘robot revolution,’ we have got into the habit of calling too many things ‘revolutions,’ I do believe robots will eventually pervade all areas of activity, from education and healthcare to environmental monitoring and medicine. The broad spread of the future impact of robotics technology should not be underestimated.
Fast-paced and disruptive innovation is becoming increasingly institutionalized and ubiquitous — fundamentally changing the way we work, play and communicate. By tracking trends impacted by automation in social, technological, economic, environmental and political arenas I hope to be able to provide a greater understanding of how to take advantage of new technologies to improve our lives. I will do this by researching the impact of behavior, economics and culture on the future whilst exploring the interactions between technology and society. I like to not only think about data and the light it sheds on our world, but also seek a deep understanding of the causal impact the data infers…“ceteris paribus.”
In a large respect, this blog is not about describing the world… it’s about exploring ideas.
Whilst there are concerns about technology and automation displacing many from the workplace I have an optimism for the future and believe the attempt to better the world for all humanity is hidden somewhere within the automated robotic economy. Whatever we here about human creativity and ingenuity, let’s also remember, in the words of Richard Dawkins from his bestselling book The Selfish Gene: “We are survival machines — robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.”
However, conversely robotics and associated technologies will create mass disruption in society – which, as Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller says could be; “the challenge of our time, maybe the most important policy issue facing us, and it’s a difficult one.”
The unique number of visitors to this blog — high of 38,845 in one day, show the incredible importance of this topic and its potential societal impact.
Robotenomics.com content has been described by CNN as the “go to place” for robotics and the economy, regularly featured in the Financial Times, Bloomberg, O’Reilly Media, Forbes, Quartz, Inc Magazine, Business Insider, MIT Technology Review, described by famed economist and Professor Brad De Long as a must read, and is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, It has also been discussed and written about by the Chairman of the BBC, European Parliament Ministers, by national governments and others.
Contact — If you wish to know more about my work helping corporations, financial institutions, universities and government to take advantage of data science and the robot economy, send me an email — colin (@) robotenomics.com
My goal, through this blog, is to help the reader (and me) understand the why of robotics (See my Manifesto). Often in robotics it’s kind of like the answer is 42, but you don’t know whether that came from 7 x 6 or 2 x 21 or 3 x 14. Since 42 is the number you need, there’s no reason to care about its possible factors. I disagree — when we know the factors we understand the answer. This is one area that concerns me with A.I. and Robotics — you may be getting great answers, but you don’t understand why — and that’s really dissatisfying!
Understanding the factors is not easy — Robotics and A.I. is full of different pieces — like a junkyard, full of sharp bits of rusty metal, in which children happily play. Many interesting things are unexpected, but not all unexpected things are interesting or surprising. I like to explore the junkyard and turn it into products and data with real value.
The essence of my research is a discipline of verification. Combined with my analysis I seek to arrive at what is known as: Apophenia — making connections where none previously existed (overcoming the human tendency of seeing patterns where none actually exist).
My spare time is spent with my loved ones, where we walk or run with Sherlock an English Springer Spaniel — together we typically cover 16 to 20 km’s each day.
One of my favourite quotes to ponder on is by the famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith:
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful business of thinking.