I side with Jack over Jonah in the Chevron/robots controversy — it’s a company whose work is based on science and engineering and they’re touting their efforts to promote education in science and engineering. What’s the problem? It’s not like they’re bragging about donating stuffed unicorns to homeless shelters.
But let me take this opportunity to plug the FIRST Robotics Competition, in which high-school teams (including that of number-one son) build robots to perform a specified task and participate in competitions. (I don’t know if the programming includes the Three Laws of Robotics.) This year the robots have to shoot basketballs, among other things, and the schedule of tournaments overlaps with March Madness.
The policy point is that we need to publicly value productive and useful pursuits such as high school robotics competitions at least as much as we value teams of overgrown illiterates hopping up and down on a wooden floor. As my colleague John Miano noted this week, the world’s top engineering prize got no MSM notice whatsoever, while JLo’s nipple-slip was covered by hundreds of outlets. And importing large numbers of foreign engineers will just make things worse, prompting even more talented young Americans to enter the sterile and parasitic legal profession, for instance, instead of pursuing technical careers.
Unless we want the Chinese to colonize the moon (and admit it as a province when its population reaches 13 million) we need more ads making the case that robotics is cool, not fewer.