The Bot Uprising Is Coming (And Not In the Way You Might Think)

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Recently there’s been plenty of chatter in the news about bots from Microsoft’s gaffe’s with its Twitter bot, Taye to Industry 4.0 the public seems obsessed about the latest wave of bots. What’s striking in these discussions is regardless of whether you fear or love AI bots, our future with them seems inevitable.

Why the Bot hype?

People are excited about Bots, both physical and digital, because they are the next wave of industrial revolution.

Contrary to what we typically think of the Industrial Revolution with key figures like Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell, industrial revolutions are not defined by individual technological improvements, but changes in labor and distribution.

Perhaps the true start of the American Industrial Revolution can be traced back to a restless 21 year old. In the countryside of England, a young apprentice Samuel Slater, having vigorously studied the process of cotton spinning, headed West. At the time taking industrial designs from England to the United States was highly illegal. Fortunately for Slater he had a great memory. With a few wealthy investors from Rhode Island, he would assume the title of “The Father of the American Industrial Revolution,” or “Slater the Traitor,” depending on who you asked.

Slater’s cotton-spinning technique wasn't the only thing brought from England. From looms to steam engines to new smelting iron techniques, the United States became a hotbed of industry. What would previously require many skilled workers’ hours could now be outsourced to a single machine.

alt In Andrew S. Grove’s Only The Paranoid Survive, these were points of inflection that changed the way of doing business, re-organized fundamental aspects of how we lived, how we worked, and how we communicated and socialized.

alt A more recent example of inflection is the Internet. Pre-Internet, we were limited to local or regional sales for small business owners. There were extremely high barriers to global market entry, requiring capital and logistics networks that only large multinational companies could obtain.

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