When Wired founder Kevin Kelly mused that "humans are the reproductive organs of technology", he was shining a light on the biggest, baddest, battery-operated elephant in the room: that before too long, the progress of robotics will be society's downfall.
Not in a doom-laden SkyNet Terminator way – at least, hopefully not – but in the sense that sophisticated robot technology will inevitable have a destructive impact on the global job market.
And such a threat doesn't look too far off. According to a new report by Reform, a right-of-centre think-tank, almost 250,000 public sector workers could lose their jobs to robots over the next 15 years.
According to the Guardian, the report says that artificial intelligence "chat bots" could replace up to 90% of Whitehall's administrators, tens of thousands in the NHS and GP surgeries, and – scariest of all – could even replace nurses and doctors. The report believes that, by taking such steps, the country could save as much as £4 billion a year.
Suggesting where workers will turn to, the Reform press release states that: "Public services can become the next Uber, using the gig economy to employ locum doctors and supply teachers."
Oof – but what can you do? Punching your toaster in the face will do nothing to slow the snowballing nature of technological progress. The report's co-author, Alexander Hitchcock, sounded suspiciously hopeful, saying: "Such a rapid advance in the use of technology may seem controversial, and any job losses must be handled sensitively. But the result would be public services that are better, safer, smarter and more affordable."
Is it just us, or does this man sound like an undercover robot? Someone tear his face off to check.
Actually, don't do that.