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In the news: Robots and the future of work

Average: 3.3 (9 votes)

'When Robots take all the work, what'll be left for us to do?' is the title of this interesting article published in the equally interesting 'Wired.'

Read through a few select parts of this article, and find out what the words in bold mean:

 Robots have loomed over the future of labor for (1) —at least since robotic arms started replacing auto workers on the assembly line in the early 1960s. Optimists say that more robots will lead to greater productivity and economic growth, while pessimists complain that huge swaths of the labor force will see their (2) options automated out of existence.

 Each has a point, but there’s another way to look at this seemingly inevitable trend. What if both are right? As robots start doing more and more of the work humans used to do, and doing it so much more (3) than we ever did, what if the need for jobs disappears altogether? What if the robots end up producing more than enough of everything that everyone needs?

 Overall, the kinds of jobs that respondents predicted humans would still be needed to do involved (4) with other people. Healthcare, education, and caring for the elderly and children were all seen as occupations that would still require a human touch. “Those areas in which human compassion is important will be less changed than those where compassion is less or not important,” said Herb Lin, chief scientist on the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the National Academies of Science.

 The idea that robots could make employment itself optional may sound fantastic. No more work! But the end result could be more, not less angst. We’d still have to find our place among the robots, except this time without work as a guidepost for (5) a sense of purpose. By eliminating the need for people to work, robots would free us up to focus on what really makes us human. The (6) possibility of all is that only then do we figure out what really makes us human is work.


loomed over - to threaten

swaths - parts or sections

automated - to be operated by machinery

inevitable - sure to happen, unavoidable

occupations -jobs

compassion - the emotion that one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help

angst - fear or anxiety

figure out - to discover, determine or solve


Now choose the correct missing words to complete the text:

  • 1) Missing word 1 is:

  • 2) Missing word 2 is:

  • 3) Missing word 3 is:

  • 4) Missing word 4 is:

  • 5) Missing word 5 is:

  • 6) Missing word 6 is: