After disintegrating before the eyes of the nation over the past few months, the United Kingdom Labour Party is now having a panic attack about the ongoing robot invasion and impending total takeover.
Despite being the largest political party in Europe by membership numbers, Labour’s entire senior leadership has been in disarray since the British public voted to exit the European Union.
Starting on the day of “Brexit” as it has become known, the Labour Party – whose members mostly supported staying in the EU – saw one senior party member after another leave their posts.
In a scarcely believable series of events, every member of Labour’s “shadow cabinet” – as the official opposition party’s leading members are collectively called – resigned.
All of the rebels said their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was not capable of winning against the current government, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, of the Conservative Party.
Even now, with the Labour Party – having held its second leadership election within a year, which again showed that the party’s membership at large supports Corbyn – the dissenters are still not happy, claiming Corbyn has no idea how to fend off the robots either.
In response, Corbyn – who has been variously described as being “a bit of a communist”, or Trotskyist, or just living in a world of his own – listened intently and nodded a few times, then sat down put his head in his hands.
Also, his deputy Tom Watson – possibly on his own initiative or given the nod by Corbyn – has launched an investigation into “robot workers”, according to TheIndependent.co.uk.
Watson, says The Independent, is concerned about a YouGov survey which shows workers are concerned about robots taking their jobs in the future, or at least lowering their wages.
The Independent quotes Watson: “Daily we hear stories of machines and systems that can do things we thought only humans could do – driving cars, drafting contracts, even composing music.
“It’s been called the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, a new era of fast technology-driven change, which we’re beginning to feel in everything we do.
“And it’s uncertain because it isn’t yet fulfilling its potential to change working lives for the good – we aren’t seeing it.”
Other political observers in the UK say Labour is “terrified” of a robot-dominated future.
But Jon Trickett, the party’s shadow secretary of state for business, innovation, and skills, tries to put a brave face on it.
“Technology can either be our master or our servant,” the New Statesman quotes Trickett as saying. “I think we will have to make it our servant.
“We have got this innovation process which is about to accelerate. I think thousands of thousands of jobs are under threat. It is literally about to happen.”
Compute local, actuate global
Of course, Corbyn and the Labour Party are not the only leading politicians to be concerned about a world dominated by robots.
Earlier this year, in his annual report, US President Barack Obama warned of alien robots accepting lower pay than human workers, and usurping them in the workplace altogether.
“Robots, like other types of automation, can be either complements to, or substitutes for, conventional labor,” warns Obama, adding that robots are like steam engines.
Meanwhile in Asia
While Europe and America fret about the consequences of too much roboticisation, two of the leading economies in Asia are welcoming robots with open arms.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is said to be fanatical about robots, and has launched – in his words – a “robot revolution” in his country, which has been described as a springboard for the robot takeover of the world.
China, which is already the world’s largest buyer of industrial robots, has also caught the buzz.
China’s President Xi Jinping and its Premier Li Keqiang have both encouraged and instituted a nationwide programme of increasing robotics and automation technology in China, also using the phrase “robot revolution”.