February 15, 2017

The fiercest manufacturing competition will be for the most capable robots, and there you never want to fall behind

Sir, Martin Sandbu writes “The economic nationalism of President Trump and Messrs Navarro and Bannon can be described as Germany-envy…Like so often with machismo, the envy is rooted in insecurity — a feeling of inadequacy compared with the perceived strength sported by these economies” “Trump’s love of manufacturing is misguided” February 15.

I can agree with much of Sandbu’s arguments, but that part of his article is simply under the belt out of place Trump bashing, which leads to nothing constructive at all. But, having gotten that out of my system, let me refer to another more vital issue.

When you lose manufacturing jobs, you do not only lose jobs, you lose skill-building opportunities; and to be able to retain some of the manufacturing skills in your country could also be part of your national security needs.

To understand that argument it suffices to read A.J. Baines “The Arsenal of Democracy”. Had America’s manufacturing capacity not existed in America, Sandbu would have lived under German rule, and I would not exists, since it was Americans that rescued my polish father from a German concentration camp… so perhaps we should both thank God for American “machismo”, and fret its possible disappearance.

Moreover, since “automation is reducing the need for manufacturing jobs everywhere” one can wonder if the dwindling manufacturing is not a great learning ground for robot and automation development. If so, giving up on that, one could face the serious problem of not ending up with the absolutely best robots.

Sir, I have tweeted: “God, please save my grandchildren from being dependent on dumb artificial intelligence and 2nd class robots”

PS. Of course there is also the great race for the most intelligent artificial intelligence.