Readers respond to the advance in robotics, and what it means for our economy, social fabric and the planet

The difference between the robots of today and all previous forms of automation is that they are so flexible (Editorial, 25 November). Intelligent robots will be utilised in any new enterprise rather than people now because the financial returns are likely to be so much greater, given that there will be no recruitment difficulties, wage demands, overtime claims, strikes, sickness absence, pensions, transport or housing problems to take care of. Factories can be situated anywhere, and HS2 could be redundant before it becomes operational.

In the past, workers displaced by automation could rely on new industries springing up to take them on, but in future these will create far more jobs for robots than people across the board. Our whole economic system, which concentrates on profitability and economics rather than the welfare of the population, can only encourage this trend. What we need is a new economic system.
Dr Richard Turner
Beverley, East Yorkshire

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