Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I did more research, and realized I almost would rather be a biologist than a writer, because there was incredible stuff going on!"
- Greg Bear

Robots Take Human Jobs  
  Robots displace human beings in the workforce.  

Fear of automation has been around since the Luddites, if not earlier, but this is an early and explicit use of the idea in science fiction.

He thought that he was living in a world in which the conflict between the machine robots and the worker was so intense that unemployment was serious problem. In practically every phase of life the machine was crowding the workingman out of his job. The robots were selling tickets in the subway stations, directing traffic, digging ditches, building new skyscrapers, forming new and unheard of additions to the army and navy. And some of them, connected to adding machines, and to typewriters in large offices were actually keeping sets of books and doing part of the stenographic work in a purely mechanical way by very capable machines.

In these dreams, Ball saw the gradual starvation of society, first, for the real pleasures of life, then, for the comforts, and later on for the actual necessities. He visioned parades of unemployed workingmen, demanding of capital a right to earn a living. But these very parades were policed by robots with blue-coats on who were very perfect in preserving order by mechanically-wielded batons...

Labor was united in denouncing the entire programme of so universally substituting machines for men. But, in spite of this opposition, the money men who controlled the new companies, such as Robots International, Television, and Radio, were determined to go on with their programme and perform the manual labor of the world with electrified machinery in the shape of men and women, who would be tireless, errorless and wageless.

Technovelgy from The Threat of the Robot, by David H. Keller.
Published by Science Wonder Stories in 1929
Additional resources -

A more positive version of this idea can be found in Paradise and Iron by Miles J. Breuer, published in Amazing Stories Quarterly (1930):

How was it possible for this one city to produce such an immense and wonderful collection?

Automatic machinery, of course! Wealth consists of the products of labor, but it has been measured in terms of human labor. Here the people had control of vast amounts of labor, labor that knew no fatigue, had no limitations, required no wages the labor of automatic machinery. They had freely at their disposal the equivalent of the labor of millions of skilled and powerful workmen, without involving the degradation of a single human soul in the monotony of toil. As a result, all the people were able to devote themselves to the higher pursuits for which men have longed in vain during the ages when necessity compelled them to labor.

Here was another Athens! Here was a nation that had developed intellect and beauty to a degree that bid fair to rival that of the old Grecian city. However, in that Athens of old, which has done so much to mold the thought and taste of the world, there was a sad moral blot. The leisure that made possible the accomplishment of its artists, statesmen, and thinkers, was achieved only through the labor of millions of slaves. Of these toiling, driven, suffering multitudes, history has nothing to say, nor of the share which they deserve in the glory of Greece

In this modern Athens there was no such disgrace. The slaves doing the drudgery behind the scenes were not human beings, but machines not the lives of a hundred human beings sacrificed to make possible one sculptor or philosopher, but only iron and oil, gasoline and electricity making beauty: the beauty of human bodies well and gracefully nurtured; the beauty of paintings, statuary, and music; the beauty of high and noble human thought.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Threat of the Robot
  More Ideas and Technology by David H. Keller
  Tech news articles related to The Threat of the Robot
  Tech news articles related to works by David H. Keller

Articles related to Culture
Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
Navajo Say Human Cremains On The Moon Is 'Desecration'
Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.