We are currently living in an age of technological revolution. With rapidly diminishing resources for increasingly heavy work loads and the pressure of our ever ticking biological clock more and more jobs are being outsourced to efficient, emotionless robots who not only finish our jobs faster but also make less union demands and work for lower salaries. It is true. The robots are taking our jobs! Well. Maybe your job. Not mine. The reason why are very interesting. Before going any further let me introduce you to Boston Dynamic’s, a leading company in robotics. Here is one of their humanoid robot’s walking, tidying and getting back up after being knocked down.
Now that you’re familiar with the current level of advanced humanoid robotics in 2016 let’s delve a little deeper in to why I, a magician am writing a blog post about robots and AI. Before I can fully answer that question it’s important to understand that many of the tools and gadgets you use on a daily basis are (at least partially) mined and/or assembled by robots. The economic concern and ethics of this use of robots is for a politician but it’s safe to say that in the future there is a real concern of how much humans will rely on robots.
However, what’s interesting is that when looking at tasks, jobs, professions broadly in terms of business the use of robots does have it’s advantages. That is, until you arrive at the art of magic. While robots can potentially be programmed to perform basic magic tricks it’s unlikely that a robot, no matter how advanced will be able to replicate close-up magic. While I sit here smugly writing this blog post, happy in the notion that my job is safe from being outsourced to robots, the reasons why are particularly interesting and something that you may not have considered before.
Dexterity limitations aside magic is like Jazz or comedy, it has to be adjusted on the fly. The point of a magician is not just to show endless magic tricks but to integrate in to a party, engage in conversation and be a talking point of the occasion. Sadly a lot of “professional” magicians fall short on this but the point is that a magician should be a showman, comedian and magician in one package. When heckled a magician needs to have one liners and witty remarks to remain in control of a situation without being overpowering or being seen as aggressive or rude. A magician must adapt to lighting, temperature, noise, audio or visual impairments or language barriers of the audience. Having a repertoire of magic that is seamlessly interchangeable at a moments notice. These are the often unnoticed characteristics of a good magician and qualities/talents/skills that robots will unlikely ever be able to replicate.
So if you are worried about robot’s taking your jobs (if you’re not maybe you should be) in the not-too-distant future perhaps it’s time for a career change to something slightly more “magical”.