Friday, March 3, 2017

Perspective: President Trump at One Month


The United States is a Democratic Republic, and President Trump is our duly elected President. He was elected with 306 of the required 270 Electoral College votes. Importantly also, is the fact that he won 30 of the 50 States and at least 2500 of the 3000 counties in the Nation. Hillary did win the popular vote in California, but President Tromp even won half of the counties of California. In other words, he won decisively.  

This is exactly what the Founders had in mind when they set up the Electoral College. They envisioned that the population of big cities such as Boston and New York could out-vote the citizens of the hinterlands. That is exactly what happened in this election. Hillary received the majority of the National votes gaining them from the big cities on each coast. Still she lost overwhelmingly to the hinterland, exactly the way the Founders wanted it. 

President Tromp has been in office a mere five weeks, and despite the democrats in Congress blocking and stalling the proposed members of his cabinet, he has made huge progress on addressing the problems he identified as the major ones and told his supporters that would do something about. To name a few:

  • Authorized construction on the Wall
  • Announced hiring 10.000 new ICE and 5000 border security agents to enforce existing laws
  • Promulgated a program to vet refugees and immigrants from the seven countries in the Mid East countries Obama labeled  unsafe.
  • Eliminated numerous regulations that impede job creation, including a freeze on Obamacare
  • Authorized the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines and unshackled the restrictions on coal mining
  • Withdrew America from the TPP treaty
  • Said out loud: “Radical Islamic terrorism” in his inaugural address
  • Appointed Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court
In addition, he announced plans for replacing Obamacare with a better program, and stated his plan for tax overhaul would be ready in 2-3 weeks.  

More than this accomplishment, he has convened meetings with just about every major group of leaders and experts in the Country such as the Silicon Valley high tech heads, the automotive CEOs and the top union leaders, to name just a few organizations. Adding to this he has met or spoken on the phone with many of the top world leaders. The business community is already responding, and consumer confidence is rising. The rise in the Stock Market reflects this. 

Despite the amazing Electoral accomplishment and despite keeping his campaign promises right out of the starting gate, a substantial number of democrats are in the streets claiming he is illegitimate and calling him all sorts of the worst kind of names. Now, they are not just disparaging President Trump; they are disparaging “We the People”, their working class fellow Americans who voted him into office. The members of this group needs to be respected, because they have been the victims of the horrendous policies of both established political parties that have caused more than 70,000 factories to shut down terminating the working class jobs and leaving a grave yard of rust belts that spans the Nation. 

If the democrats want to change from the Electoral College to election of the President by Popular Vote, they need to know that that will require a Constitutional Amendment. According to Article V of the Constitution: “Whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which in either case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of the Constitution when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States.” Since President Trump won 30 of the 50 States, and Hillary won only 20 States, it seems unlikely that the democrats can round up the 38 States required for such an Amendment. 

The Electoral College is the law of the land, and Donald Trump is our Electoral College elected legitimate President. Therefore, it is the duty of each and every citizen to accept that. As Americans we often may not agree with the occupant, but we always should respect the office of President itself!

 

So, let’s unify and get on with dealing with the business the voters need and want now!!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Perspective: The Millennials and the Global and Digital Revolutions


This 75 million person generation is living at the time of a Revolution the likes of which the older generations have never seen, and we fear that many of the group may be insufficiently prepared to cope with the challenges they face. We say that because many Millennials are having difficulty getting jobs and fitting into the modern society.

What is the revolution, you ask? The globalization of economic activity and the digitalization that affects everything. And then there is the Cultural Revolution. The rapid pace of globalization and the digital explosion are difficult enough for the older generations to grasp, but the Millennials must do it with few mentors to guide them and in a culture that is a state of disarray.

Moreover, their being wedded to their Smart phones exacerbates the problem because it causes them to virtually live alone. The authors of a book entitled, “The End of Conversation” ran an experiment as part of the research for their book that illustrates this. They invited the Millennials to bring their parents and grandparents to a meeting. At that meeting they seated the Millennials on one side of the room and the parents and grandparents on the other side. Then the authors watched to see what happened. Not surprisingly, the older generations were busy chatting away and getting acquainted. The Millennials, by contrast, sat in silence fiddling with their Smart Phones. The Millennials do in fact live alone, and that is a scary place to be in such a time as this.

Let’s examine the main components of the revolution.  Globalization has manifested itself in that millions of factory jobs have been shipped overseas during the past three decades. During this period 70,000 or so factories that have been shut down and the jobs eliminated. This has mostly affected the boomer generation, and generation x whose jobs were taken.

Digital technology is more insidious. On the surface it looks great; it increases productivity for all kinds of economic endeavors. But the robot, an outgrowth of the digital age, replaces the human worker just as the foreign worker replaced the US factory worker.  It is true that human workers are needed to keep the robots running, but that requires skills beyond the high school education that was what a factory job required. The probability of a 50 year old with a high school degree, who was replaced after working in a factory for 25 years, acquiring such skills is problematic.

The Millennials are also having trouble finding meaningful jobs, even when they have college degrees. Moreover, their jobs may be as much at risk as the high school graduate factory worker who was a victim of the factory closings. The Millennial’s competitor is the robot. Rapidly developing artificial intelligence means that many jobs that required college degrees can now even be done by robots. Eventually, this will include robots maintaining and repairing robots.  Despite this new “employee” taking jobs left and right, the Media and the Politicians don’t even mention it.

Now, we have seen revolutionary changes before. The Industrial Revolution brought all kinds of change from the steam engine patented by James Watt in 1781, to the railroad, the automobile, radio, television etc. But the pace was much slower. Mostly it required decades and in some cases a century. The digital age has reduced that to a decade or less. For example, the Smart Phone is less that a decade old and nearly 2 billion persons already have one.

However, there was one thing that the older period had; namely, a cultural construct that nearly all persons were integrated into. The Church was at the center of it. Workers displaced by the Industrial Revolution could congregate at their Churches to find solace, commiseration and even sustenance if they needed it.  Ask yourself, does such support exist today? Unfortunately for the Millennial this Cultural Revolution has occurred at the same time as the Globalization and the Digital Revolutions.

Before the Cultural Revolution Society had four pillars to assure that a child could be taken from the cradle and eighteen years later exit the home as a responsible citizen. Unfortunately for the Millennial, Society decided to discard the four pillars just about the time they arrived. It was as though Society “threw the baby out with the bath water”.

What were the four pillars? First, there was the parent who knew what the job entailed and what was expected. That job was converting the helpless new born baby into a responsible citizen in eighteen years so the child could safely leave the parents home and enter the armed services, go away to school for advanced education or enter the work force. Secondly, the neighbor was pleased to be a partner with the parent and to be the surrogate parent when the parent was not there to save the child from dangerous situations. Third, there was the school. The teachers had the parent’s approval to be surrogate parents, and the parents were so pleased with the arrangement that they admonished the child that “if you get in trouble at school and are punished just wait ‘til you get home!” Fourth was the Sunday school. Nearly child went there, where the moral structure the parent promulgated was fortified. In addition, the child learned about God, the Ten Commandments and the importance of “loving one’s neighbor”.

Unfortunately, many of, the Millennials have not had such integrated societal support.  The parent has become confused about whether to be parent or a pal. The neighbor and the school found out that they would be hauled into court if they interfered, and hardly any Millennial attends Sunday school on regular basis.  Just visit any Church and count the number of Millennials! The number is virtually none. In fact it could be said that the Cultural Revolution is destroying the Church.

If you look closely, you can see the Millennials kind of a-drift in this complex and ever changing society. The fact that the second highest cause of death in this generation is suicide is a major clue of their problem.

Society had better figure out how to help the Millennials,  because a  generation growing up in the midst of a globalization and digitalization revolution, with little or no face to face human contact, largely isolated from the older generations, and with no mentors to guide them, will have difficulty becoming the leaders this Country will need. This is the challenge for all of us.

Future blogs will explore this question further, and seek answers that can be helpful to all of us, and especially helpful to the Millennials, who will be living with the problems, challenges and opportunities of this rapidly changing global and digital age the rest of their lives.

 

 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Perspective: At Last!!!


 
We Americans have indeed received a great Christmas Present. The gift is that our democratic form of government created by the brilliant Founders is working. The Country was headed for the cliff, and the polls showed that 70 % of the People knew it. However, for the first time in decades, the People followed the Founders’ plan as expressed in the Declaration; namely, that when any Government fails to protect the People’s inalienable rights, it is the right of the People to alter that Government. Tuesday, November 8, 2016 the People chose to alter that failed Government! We the People indeed took charge, and by by-passing both political parties, chose a leader who We the People thought could deal with the problems We, the working class, have had to deal  with.  Remarkably it did not require a revolution; it was done by simply employing the peaceful ballot box.

For four decades both Established Political Parties have exploited the working class to the point where 90 million of them are not even counted in the work force any more. 70,000 factories have been shut down, and the work was shipped overseas, and everyone knew it. Except, and this is key, no one in the Media or the Political Establishment claimed to know it. Much worse, they seemed not to give a damn. And then Donald Trump came along! He understood their plight and articulated their concerns in language they understood. Now, the People have spoken!

What is amazing is that Donald Trump did not set up a Third Party, as he might have. Instead he worked within the Republican Party. The People heard him, and they elected him State by State through the Primary until he became the Republican Candidate. Then during the Presidential election campaign, while the Media and both established Republican and Democrat Parties, tried everything possible to destroy him, the People ignored that, and State by State gave him the Electoral Votes to make him the Winner.

But Trump was not the only Winner. Trump’s coattails saved the Republican Senate. So that now, the Republican Party has been saved! Not that it deserved to be saved considering that the Party leaders repudiated Trump and did everything imaginable to defeat him, including reneging on the pledges by individuals to support the Party’s candidate.

Responding to the needs of the working class, Trump is choosing his Cabinet Members to focus on the very problems the working class knows about and the ones he identified in his campaign.

The Country is the true Winner, and all Americans should be thankful, especially in this Christmas Season!!

 

Merry Christmas to all!!

 

 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Perspective: The Time Has Come to Decide!


No more procrastination! You have to decide. We have two candidates running for the office of President. One was chosen by “we the people” as the Republican Party’s candidate; the other was forced upon us by the “Establishment” of the Democrat Party.  The candidate chosen by the people has been leading a “movement” that focuses on the issues the people care about; namely, preserving and creating viable jobs in the global and digital environment, protecting us from Radical Islamic Terrorists and identifying Supreme Court Justices who will uphold the Constitution. Both the Established Parties and the Media have ignored the “peoples’ plight for decades. Worse, the Media and both Established Parties are now doing everything they can to destroy the candidate chosen by the people.

The peoples’ candidate is new to politics and does not always speak the politically-correct language of the professional politicians.  However, the language employed spells out the problems and proposed solutions in unequivocally clear language that is fully understood by the working class. Moreover, the peoples’ candidate is a natural leader, an expert problem solver, an assembler of teams that have accomplished important goals on schedule and often below budget.

The other candidate has years of experience in government but seems unable to complete the tasks at hand, and never on time or on budget. More problematic is that, under this candidate’s direction, the Middle East has disintegrated which caused ISIS to rise. Further, the economy is anemic due to policies this professional supports. Worse this candidate believes the Constitution can be bent to relate to today’s issues without concern for adhering to historic principals.

The plans of the two candidates stand in stark contrast to one another. The peoples’ choice candidate’s plan would incentivize private industry to stay in the US and make further job- producing investments. This plan would unleash the job-creating private industry from the shackles of high and non-competitive taxes in a global economy and would radically reduce the rising number of unproductive regulations. In addition these actions will bring back the trillions of dollars the companies have left overseas to be applied as US investments that will increase the growth rate of the economy.

The other would tax the rich, i.e. the business owners, to make them less competitive in the global market. It calls for increased regulations, as well. This will incentivize private industry to leave the US, and move their investments overseas. This not only includes factories but company head quarters, as well. Many companies have already moved their head quarters to Ireland to escape US tax and regulations. What must be understood is that in a global economy, a company can survive anywhere. For example, even Wall Street does not have to be in New York City. It could work anywhere. Meanwhile, the trillions of dollars raised from the higher taxes will be distributed to society at large. This will require the regulatory bureaucracy to add government workers at the tax payer’s expense.

As mentioned at the beginning, the Main Stream Media are doing everything they can to destroy the peoples’ candidate. The record shows that 90 % of their newspaper, radio and TV news coverage is spent reporting on each and every picayune detail of the candidate’s life and business. Often they will discover an item that occurred decades ago and time its reporting to maximize its negative impact. Meanwhile, the Media spends less spends less than 10 percent of its time reporting the massive amounts of factual and damaging information uncovered by Wikileaks about the competitor’s activities that are certainly unethical and probably criminal.


So,  for whom should you cast your vote this coming November? You know!!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Perspective: The Millennials



The Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are probably the best educated of any generation, and considering our nations leadership in digital technology, the quality and scope of our education institutions, the American created Smart Phone, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and our nations energy independence, you would think that they would be excited about entering the adult world. You would be wrong!

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the amount of anxiety and depression among the Millennials has sky rocketed in what many psychologists are calling a crisis of mental health. According to Psychology Today, “The average high school student today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient of the 1950s”. It is claimed that students used to show up to the nurse for skinned knees, but now they show up for panic attacks. Further, this is placing a major financial burden on academia to staff and fund the needed health facilities.

Psychologists are reporting that the level of anxiety increases dramatically when they enter college, and certainly will be worse as they enter the job market. What seems to trigger the anxiety is high performance expectation in sports and grades and the stress of applying to a future university or for employment!

Exacerbating the stress is that a high percentage of this generation’s graduates  is either unemployed or under employed despite their skill and training. This is understandable because, even though that the Boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day, it is unlikely that many of the jobs they are leaving will be available for the Millennials because of globalization, robotization, as well as illegal immigrants and legal foreign graduates from US schools who are taking US jobs.

Making it even more stressful for the Millennials entering the work place is that the mentors of the past are no longer there. Today, the Millennial is expected to come to the job ready to start work. Simply stated because the Millennial knows more about the tools of the trade (digital devices) than the Owner, the business owner believes that providing a mentor is not required.

Historically, the beginning employee was considered to be an apprentice. While the apprentice was being taught how to use the tools of trade by the master, the apprentice was also being mentored by the master regarding how to work in and live in the workplace culture. The apprentice learned about the importance of interpersonal relationships, how society worked, how business worked, how to be a good neighbor, how to work side-by-side with other workers and many other items indigenous to the business culture. This juxtaposition of roles places the Millennial in a position of being his or her own mentor in this radically and rapidly changing time. What can be more stressful than that?

The literature addresses several causes of their anxiety and depression, but one that is rated highest is the Millennials lack of problem solving skills. Dr. Benjamin Spock’s  book “Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care” is blamed. According to an article by Reb Bradley, entitled “How Dr. Spock Destroyed America”, Spock “discouraged directive training and emphasized accommodating children’s feelings and catering to their preferences. No longer did children have to eat Brussels sprouts and suffer daily chores. Using Spock’s approach, parents began to feed self-indulgence, instead of instilling self-control”. Many of us will recall that parents were admonished to be careful not to destroy the child’s self-esteem.

Moreover, earlier generations were granted more freedom to experience life, such as playing outside from breakfast to dinner each summer, having jobs around the house or being paid for jobs in the neighborhood such as mowing grass, or shoveling snow. There were even farm or factory jobs for teenagers in those days. Further, those generations were not rewarded for every little achievement, so there was minimum stigma associated with failure. Learning to live with failure is an essential life skill. Unfortunately, the social media adds to the fear of failure because the individual is constantly being compared to others who may look better or may be achieving more.

The addition of texting to the cell phone in 1992 has permitted this generation to avoid verbal contact with their colleagues as well as family and friends. A book entitled “Reclaiming Conversation” describes this experiment: Millennials, their parents and grandparents were invited to a meeting. The grandparents and parents were seated on one side of the auditorium, the Millennials on the other. Immediately the grandparents and parents who did not know each other began chatting away, while the Millennials sat silently texting.

The parent and grandparent generations have not experienced the stress the Millennials face, and most of us have missed seeing the problems it is causing them. So, if the Millennials need help at any time, will they call on their elders? Probably not!
Nevertheless, we must stop complaining about the alleged societal causes of their stress, because we can’t change history. And we must not demand that they behave the way we would like!  They need mentors. We can be their mentors.

I have to confess that as much as I have been aware of and have been writing about the paradigm shift that the digital and global age is bringing to all our lives, I did not pick up on the stress that the Millennials are experiencing. The purpose of this blog is to have the older generations as well as the Millennials become aware of the issues so that both generations can be prepared to help.

One simple way is to have the parent and grandparent generations to become less intimated with the technology, and therefore communicate with the Millennials on their turf!  It is not that difficult to text, send e-mails, do Face time, and visit Face book and Instagram to keep up with your Millennial, to see how they are doing. We can do this!  Then the Millennials may feel freer to call upon us when they need help.

Doing this is not just important, it is essential if we are to help the Millennials work their way through this stressful time to become the nation’s leaders that we desperately need to preserve the American Dream!

For further information on how the Millennials can prepare for the new workplace, please refer to my blog of May, 2014 entitled: Perspective: The Millennials and Job Opportunities.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Perspective: The Sad Shape of the Political Parties and the Media


None of us alive has ever seen anything like this Presidential season! When have you ever seen the ordinary voters choose their candidate in the primary election? You haven’t! The party elite doe’s that! It even used to be done in “smoke filled” rooms. Then the “party-picked” candidate was placed on the ballot for the general election. This 2015-16 go around is radically different. 

On the Republican side, a non-politician named Donald Trump got his name on the Republican list along with 16 other outstanding Republican candidates. However, in State after State the Republican voters chose Trump over the other 16 highly qualified establishment candidates. Frustrated, and try as they might, the Republican establishment could not overcome the wishes of these ordinary voters, who in historic numbers, turned out to unequivocally make Trump their nominee.

On the Democrat side, an independent, not a Democrat, Bernie Sanders got on the short list of Democrat candidates. The Democrat voters, including the Millennials and first time voters, seized this opportunity to vote for a non-establishment candidate, and they did so in huge numbers. Unfortunately their wishes were thwarted by the Democrat party rules which awarded “Super Delegates” to the Party’s favored choice, Hillary Clinton. This made it virtually impossible for Bernie Sanders to become the Democrat voter’s choice. However, he still might have won had the Democrat party management not tilted the scales further. This year the Democrat party leader, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and her colleagues, were caught red-handed when their e-mails were hacked showing how hard they worked to disparage and defeat Sanders. Wasserman-Schultz was fired for it.

What is the result? The ordinary voters of the Republican Party got the leader they wanted, namely, Donald Trump. By contrast, the ordinary voters of the Democrat party were told they would get the candidate the Party chose no matter how flawed, how big a failure or how lacking in integrity that candidate was already been known to be. That candidate is Hillary Clinton.

We have seen how despicable and un-American the behavior of the Democrat Party leadership behavior has been. But as bad as it has been, it pales in comparison to that of the behavior of the Republican Party Establishment. Instead of welcoming the ordinary voter’s choice of this new leader who ran as a Republican not an independent, and garnered historic numbers of voters to the party, they reneged on their publicly spoken vow to support the Republican Party’s nominee. Unimaginatively worse, they are now working actively and hand in hand with the Media to defeat their own Party’s candidate overwhelmingly chosen by the Party’s ordinary voters.

The corruptness of both established political parties has been exposed. And we have learned that both established parties have ignored the plight of the ordinary voters for decades. These ordinary voters make up the majority of the Middle Class and are largely high-school graduates whose jobs have been taken away by unfair trade agreements, robotization and illegal immigrants. The politically correct establishment Politicians and the Media rarely, if ever, talk to these people. They have been ignored by the political system until this year when outsider candidates appeared who understood their plight, spoke their language and weren’t afraid to call a spade a spade.  

What is historic and amazing is that these ordinary Republican voters overcame the Republican Party hierarchy to get their choice, and the ordinary Democrat voters came close to overcoming the Democrat Party hierarchy, as well.

Aiding this phenomenon is the new Media, namely Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Apple sold its billionth copy of the hand-held Smart Phone this year which makes the information available via these hand-held devices to nearly everyone of these ordinary voters. This genie will not be placed back in the bottle, and we are on a new path for the politics of our Democratic Republic. It is too bad that the Media and the Political Establishment still don’t get it, and are likely to be in for a shock, if the ordinary voters of both Parties remain adamant enough to come out and vote in unprecedented numbers, this will be the new norm!


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Perspective: The Invisible Immigrants



We are properly concerned about the visible immigrants who are in our country illegally and are often hired illegally, lowering wages, and often replacing American workers. However, there are laws on the books that are intended to prevent immigrants from coming here illegally, and there are laws on the books that prevent the hiring of undocumented immigrants. The main problem is that our politicians not only fail to enforce these laws, but worse they deliberately refuse to do so, even to the extent of providing safe refuge for these illegal persons in our sanctuary cities.

But there is the "Invisible Immigrant", namely the Robot,  that is even more insidious. Each digital device, kiosk, machine and robot is like an invisible immigrant that takes human jobs. You seem not to be able to see them, and yet they are ubiquitous, that is they are every where. And they are right in front of you. For example, consider the Automatic Teller Machine. If it were not hiding under its acronym ATM, you probably would have recognized that it replaced a Human Bank Teller. You can’t build walls high enough to keep them out.

Now, let’s look at the intelligence of the invisible immigrant! It ranges from being capable of managing ordinary tasks, such as taking your order at a restaurant, to checking you out at a store, but there are those who can drive cars. One of them is so smart that it won all the money on Jeopardy and defeated the world’s greatest Chess Player. What may be even more astounding is that Steven Hawking and Bill Gates predict that robots with artificial intelligence will be able to replicate themselves in the near future. So, even the jobs of constructing this creature are in jeopardy.

Moreover, the march to replace human labor is growing exponentially Experts have claimed that technology has already replaced millions of human laborers, and the forecast is that about 50% of existing jobs will be gone within the next two decades. In short, the invisible immigrant cannot wait to take your job.

Consider the invisible immigrant from the employer’s point of view:
v     The robot works 24/7 needs no health care, maternity leave, vacation, lunch or coffee break, never goes on strike, needs no separate toilet facility and makes far fewer mistakes.
v     The cost of the robot and the cost to maintain it is less than the total cost of human labor, even at today’s minimum wage.

Now, consider what the government does:
v     Proposes to increase the cost of human labor by:
    • Raising the minimum wage to $12-15per hour
    • Mandating that health care be borne by employers
    • Mandating overtime pay for salaried employees
    • Mandating maternity leave and family needs
    • Requiring separate toilet and bath facilities for transgender employees
v     Permits the owner to have a fast tax write-off for the installed Robot



Do we now understand why the rich (the business owner) gets richer and the poor (the job looser) gets poorer? Is it any wonder that the working public is so furious? They live every day with these issues. But they have retained the old fashioned American quality of Common Sense. What they know is that they see the human worker is being displaced by the foreign worker as factories are being moved overseas, the illegal immigrant is taking their jobs at home, and most, exasperating of all,  the invisible immigrant is taking jobs with government support. All of this occurs without the politicians or the media or anyone noticing or caring. Common sense also informs the Middle Class that robots eat no hamburgers and pay no and no taxes, ergo a complete collapse of America as we have known and loved it. Any wonder why all the polls show that the respondents believe the country is going in the wrong direction.
       
Just as we have laws and regulations to control the rate of illegal human immigrants, we need laws and regulations to control the rate of integration of invisible immigrants. Here are some basic ideas:
  1. Change the laws that permit the fast tax write-off for the robot
  2. Reduce and/or eliminate regulations that raise the cost of human labor
  3. Tax machines to raise the employers’ cost, rather than reduce it with subsidies
  4. Write new laws under OSHA to assure that machines are not installed to replace humans surreptitiously

With these NEW WALLS in place and the laws properly enforced, then the human workers’ wages and benefits will rise as the demand for their services increases, and the Middle Class can rise again. It all depends, however, on whether we learn how to adopt the new robots into the workplace and into society at large without destroying everything.