A LAST WORD TO START - “The danger is not the humanisation of robots but the robotisation of humans”


A LAST WORD TO START - “The danger is not the humanisation of robots but the robotisation of humans”
Europa Star WorldWatchWeb, 22 March 2017    Español
By Pierre Maillard

The German futurologist Gerd Leonhard was invited to the 8th Haute Horlogerie Forum last autumn. He had one piece of advice to give to young people looking for a future career path: choose whatever you like, provided you can’t be replaced by a robot! On closer inspection, the choice isn’t actually all that wide. Hairdresser (probably). Plumber, given that a robot will never be as good at disentangling tubes and pipes as a human being. (An image of Robert de Niro as the heating engineer in Terry Gilliam’s brilliant dystopian science-fiction film Brazil comes to mind…)

Lawyer – probably not. Since May 2016, a robot by the name of Ross has been working in the Cleveland offices of BakerHostetler. Ross has already fathered children. His father is IBM. Ross’s area of expertise is corporate bankruptcy (I’m not making this up). He doesn’t speak in court (although that day may come); what he does is analyse, extremely efficiently, thousands and thousands of documents relating to corporate bankruptcy. Some of which is probably caused by robots.

Banker – that’s definitely a no. Trading is already dictated by algorithms.

Journalist? The industry is already on its knees – and robots are rubbing salt into the wounds. “Researchers from the Intelligent Systems Informatics Lab (ISI) at the University of Tokyo have developed a new prototype capable of travelling around, interviewing people, collecting information, taking photos with an onboard camera, performing web searches and posting articles online, completely independently. Eventually, they could replace reporters in areas considered too dangerous for humans,” explains Romain Serre of the prestigious European Communication School in Paris.

Watchmaker, then? They do make quite a fuss about their manual skills: the painstaking hours they spend polishing chatons, angling bridges and mounting tourbillons in their handcrafted cages.

But let’s not be coy: robotisation and automation are already key factors in many aspects of watchmaking. In many cases, and increasingly, human beings are only there to set up the robots. A new division of labour is emerging, as we saw when we visited the Omega factory in 2014: “Each time a bridge is added to an assembly, a single screw is inserted manually purely to secure the movement during its transport. The remaining screws are then selected and screwed in automatically by a special robot,” we wrote.

A very well-known watchmaker said to us a few weeks back: “There is an urgent need to put humans back at the centre.” Yes, but which humans?

As our German futurologist warned, “Contrary to what everyone is saying, the danger lies not with the humanisation of robots, but with the robotisation of humans.”

Source: Europa Star TIME.BUSINESS/TIME.KEEPER Chapter 2 - March 2017
SUBSCRIBE HERE TO THE FULL MAGAZINE ISSUE



The real deal? Check out this amazing Rolex made of paper
5 December 2017

News - The real deal? Check out this amazing Rolex made of paper

You have to see it to believe it. A talented Japanese artist reproduces iconic timepieces that are made only out of paper.
Discovering the 2017 Gaïa Prize winners
11 September 2017

News - Discovering the 2017 Gaïa Prize winners

The three big winners include Richard Mille, Laurence Marti, and Jean-Marc Wiederrech. Here’s why they’re being honoured this year.
WATCH AUCTIONS - Premium and everything else
24 May 2017

Features - WATCH AUCTIONS - Premium and everything else

’Everything beautiful is expensive’: such could be the slogan for the current collector watch market. But beyond the record prices for exceptional lots at auction, a division is clearly emerging in (...)
EXTRAORDINARY WATCHES - Innovation is the best response to the crisis
24 May 2017

Features - EXTRAORDINARY WATCHES - Innovation is the best response to the crisis

The existential crisis currently gripping the watch industry is no reason to throw in the towel. On the contrary, the best response to the crisis is surely to innovate! Slashing prices is not the (...)
TRENDS & COLOURS - The Rose Golden age
24 May 2017

Features - TRENDS & COLOURS - The Rose Golden age

Just when we thought rose gold could not saturate the luxury market any further, rose gold dials are making something of a statement in gentlemen’s fine (...)
INDUSTRY - Gem-setting techniques
24 May 2017

Watch Knowledge - INDUSTRY - Gem-setting techniques

The art of jewellery developed in France in the 17th century. At that time, goldsmiths and silversmiths were tasked with enhancing the brilliance of cut precious stones by setting them on (...)
Getting back onto YOUNG PEOPLE's wrists
24 May 2017

Features - Getting back onto YOUNG PEOPLE’s wrists

For the past fifty years, the only so-called ‘watches’ worn by young people have been garish, interchangeable, gimmicky things; accessories rather than real watches. That’s because young people’s (...)
…Watchwords / THE PERFECT NAME for a watch brand
24 May 2017

Editorials - …Watchwords / THE PERFECT NAME for a watch brand

Remember all those hours you spent as a kid, trying to think up the coolest name for a band, when you could barely strum three chords together? Now try naming a watch brand. Our columnist and (...)

Europa Star, the World’s Most influential Watch Magazine, is the premier provider of international watch industry news and information. For 89 years, we have supplied watch retailers, watch distributors, watch designers, watch agents and watch manufacturers with news from the international watch industry. Our web and print publications are of interest to the specialized watch trade and the world’s most knowledgeable aficionados, watch collectors and consumers. Our magazines and websites are available in several different languages, making them accessible to all international markets and an essential tool for anyone working in the watch business and all those passionate about watches.

© 2017 Europa Star - All rights reserved.