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In the pursuit of happiness: The Internet has failed to bring us joy, so can robots do the job instead?

10 February 2016


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Politicians need to step up to ensure robots are used to make the world a better place, the writer of controversial book ‘The Internet is Not the Answer’ has proclaimed.

In a talk titled ‘Are Robots Really the Answer?’, author, entrepreneur and broadcaster Andrew Keen told the 2016 World Government Summit the Internet “has not delivered what it promised”.

He elaborated: “The relationship between technology and happiness is very interesting. Is technology making us happier? Is it enriching society? Is it making the world a better place? No.

“[It was] promised that the digital revolution would enable democracy, equality, jobs… so far, the Internet is not the answer… rather it is contributing to a new global technology monopoly and more inequality.”

So are robots the answer instead?

“We don’t know because it hasn’t happened yet,” Keen said. “But Artificial Intelligence is on the cusp of revolution. The likes of Google and Facebook will be footnotes to this next wave of innovation. Politicians in this new age of anxiety have to stand up to this challenge.”

Keen believes the current problem is “our lack of faith in politics” and a “lack of credible politicians”.

“The rise of the outsiders [like] Trump and Sanders who blame representatives won’t take responsibility. If we want to make robots the answer, we need to reintroduce [credible] politicians and governments into the mix and nationalise it.

“We need some element of regulation and political control to ensure technology makes us happy. If we can’t, then I'm afraid robots won’t be the answer.”