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Covid-19 will accelerate march of the robots


They have been compared to quantum leaps in humanity’s historic journey. But they are more like Grand Canyon-style jumps in our evolution.

During the past 200 years, technological revolutions have expanded the borders of globalization and have dragged millions of people out of poverty. Yet they have come at a price. 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be no different.

Already the landscape is changing dramatically with China at the forefront of this brave, new world for some and a nightmare for others.

“China is using automation on a scale like no other country. From AI news anchors on [state-run television] to one-minute [health] clinics to robot-run factories, China is using artificial intelligence and robots to take over the entire spectrum of human capabilities,” Abishur Prakash, a geopolitical futurist at the Center for Innovating the Future, a strategy consulting firm, told Asia Times. 

“This could transform politics in the country. It was city-jobs that drove urbanization in China. Now, however, if the blue-collar and white-collar jobs are both being automated, reverse urbanization may follow. This will create a new kind of economy for China, which in turn could change domestic politics, trade deals and foreign policy,” he said.

The “sheer scale” of Beijing’s ambitions are immense. Investment in science and technology research in the world’s second-largest economy was US$355.4 billion last year or 2.5% of GDP, official data revealed. 

Only the United States spent more as China edged past Japan.

Read: China’s high-tech dream could come at a price

Move over, funding looks certain to accelerate in 2020 with 3 trillion yuan, or $423 billion, earmarked for major projects in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.



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