Sunday, 1 April 2012

Telepresence and timezones

Via telepresence it should be possible to replace shift workers in one timezone with telepresence workers from another. For example, a nighttime security guard could be replaced by a telepresence robot and a worker based in another time zone (probably with existing technology). With more sophisticated telepresence robots, it might be possible to replace shift workers that require more agility (e.g. nurses).

In the medium term this is likely to save costs in western countries where lower labour rates of different timezones can be exploited. In the longer term (as these differences begin to level out), there is still a benefit for society in minimizing the health consequences of shift work.

At the logical (and technological) extreme, it may be possible to completely elimate the need for shift work. And to do so without requiring human-level AI, just telepresence and human-level sensory input and motor-control.

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