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Jeff Harbach Jeffrey Harbach

VC Video Interview: Don’t Fear the “Robopocalypse”

VCJ LogoThe following story was a guest column by Kauffman Fellows CEO Jeff Harbach in VCJ.

There are some people who fear the future with robots. Elon Musk has started warning that artificial intelligence could be a real threat to humans. Others fear robots will take jobs away from people and we’ll never get them back. It almost sounds like a new frontier in science fiction.

There is no question that robotics is evolving and robots are getting better at interpreting human behavior and reacting to it. In the work environment today, robots are relegated to manufacturing tasks, largely cordoned off from humans.

But venture capitalist Ewa Treitz, a partner at Black Pearls VC in Poland, says there is going to be more interaction and we should expect to see robots and humans working side by side in the not too distant future.

They will relieve us of mind-numbing tasks and maybe even be seen as work partners, a kind of co-pilot on the job.

They will undoubtedly take on more responsibilities in manufacturing and play key roles in moving commerce from place to place.

And a decade from now don’t be surprised to see robots when you visit the doctor or a nearby hospital.

That level of cooperation is going to come in completely new areas, Treitz says. And that is not science fiction.


Jeff Harbach

Jeff Harbach is president and chief executive of Kauffman Fellows. He tweets at @jeffharbach.