Monday 7 September 2020

048 – The robots are coming. Are you ready? – part 2

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Here comes part 2 of Lori and Will’s discussion about A.I. and automation. If you enjoy these podcasts, please take a moment and rate or review. You can find the full transcript at


Lori: I heard that…I think it’s Pizza Hut already has… or no… Domino’s is already experimenting with robot pizza delivery vehicles. Yeah. I mean, this this is happening now.

Will: Well, you know, a main…I’ve been talking about this whole automation thing….oh, by the way, jot this down. If you’ve never seen it. There’s a, there’s a short 15-minute video on YouTube called Humans Need not Apply. And it puts the entire conversation and frames it into a perfect, digestible, understandable video that explains automation for anybody who’s interested and doesn’t have, you know, hours of time to spend on the topic.

Lori: Oh yeah, great, thanks!

Will: So jot that down. Yep, no problem.

Lori: Done.

Will: But Amazon, which everybody knows who Amazon is, the company, they did, they did something about maybe six months ago or so. They implemented a grocery store that had no cashiers, it was set up with turnstiles that using your mobile device, you would log in before you entered the store. You would get whatever you needed at the market, groceries, whatever you needed, and you would leave, you wouldn’t stand in a line you would just walk through the turnstile and be automatically charged to your account. And I remember when Amazon did this I kind of freaked out a little bit because I, I said, you know, I sounded like the crazy preacher man running down the hill, I said to anybody I’d ever spoken to the topic about, they’re testing a patent for this type of framework to be rolled out on a larger scale to the supermarket industry. And in the past week, Amazon has purchased Whole Foods and I am positive that it is connected to their concept of implementing this…you know, cashierless…you know, turnstile, just walk in and walk out, fully automated, market shopping experience.

Lori: Wow, I ….Oh, my goodness. I didn’t know that they had bought Whole Foods.

Will: Yep. In the past week. I lost my mind when I read it.

Lori: Wow. Wow. I mean, it’s something like that, I mean, a lot of people would lose their jobs or you know, the the poor cashiers. But at the same time, it sounds like a nice shopping experience, that you just walk in, get your things and walk out and everything is taken care of…I …provided that it’s all accurately…that you’re accurately charged for your items.

Will: Yes. Of course, and it’s a perfect…it’s a perfect example of “If it works for the consumer…” which it sounds like that’s a no brainer. And there…if the quarterly numbers come out for Whole Foods, and they see massive profits as a result of not having to carry those salaries and that that level of overhead as a result of employing humans, then it’ll also make sense from a business perspective. And we will inevitably start to see the shift into the direction of automation. When it works for people and it works for businesses and the governments are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do with all of these, you know, unemployed unemployable people. It almost like a dirty word, unemployable. You’re unemployable.

Lori: Yeah. But it really depends on how, you know, what is going to happen with society as this, you know, as these changes start taking place, because the point that that…remind me of what his name was. Do you remember the name of the guy who made this this video about the rise of AI?

Will: Aaaah….

Lori: I can’t remember his name. Well, in any case, the point he made was that if these things do happen, we could if things go well, and if we plan properly, we could end up with a society where all we humans are doing is developing ourselves, learning new things.

Will: Exactly.

Lori: You know, just basically living a life of…that… where we can follow our interests and our passions. And…

Will: Yeah.

Lori: …and then the machines, the AI is taking care of all the drudgery and all the things that that we used to have to do just to put food on the table.



If you use Blinkist, here are some links to read short summaries of books on the topic of A.I. and autimation. Blinkist is great for English learners. You can read along as you listen, plus look up words you don’t know all from the app!

The Future of Work, by Darrell M. West

The Robots are Coming, by Andres Oppenheimer

The A.I. Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare by Roger Bootle

Video about delivery robots

Humans need not apply

Video about how automation and A.I. will affect the job market for humans

Robots will beat humans at every task

Dirty, Dirty robots

Funny (but still disturbing) video about A.I. from comedian Lee Camp

Link to original Yale / Oxford study about A.I.

This is for learners of academic English. People in the videos about A.I. summarize findings from this study. This is the actual academic study for comparison.

Elon musk on the Joe Rogan podcast, talking about A.I.

Elon Musk’s talk at SXSW

Ted talk with neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris

Sam Harris on the Joe Rogan Podcast

TED talk by Peter Haas A robot designer who is afraid of robots

The Real Reason to be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence

How frightened should be be of A.I.?

Article in the New Yorker, free, with full text and audio so you can read along as you listen.

A Conversation with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc. & Founder of SpaceX moderated by H.E. Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs & The Future, UAE. Chairman of the World Government Summit

Oxford word lists

You can look up words and hear American and British English pronunciation at

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