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The machines are getting smarter. They can now recognize us, carry on conversations, and perceive complex details about the world around them. This is just the beginning.

 

As computers become more human-like, many worry that robots and algorithms will displace people. And they are right to. But just as crucial is the question of how machine progress will change our perceptions of human abilities.

 

Once a job can be done by a computer, it changes the way people think about the nature of that job. Let me give you an example. Travel with me, if you will, back to the year 1985. Here we are in Baltimore, Maryland. It’s Christmastime.

 

Hutzler’s Department Store is all twinkle lights and glass ornaments. Somewhere among the festive plaid tablecloths and polished silver are Tinsel and Beau—two full-blown animatronic talking reindeer. Tinsel’s frosted in glitter and Beau’s in a top hat. I’m one of the children lined up to greet them.

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The Atlantic

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