But much has changed since these movies were made. Automation has expanded enormously with the development of ever more powerful computers and machines are becoming increasingly autonomous. Who'd have thought just a few years ago that we would have cars that can park themselves and, even more startling, that there are experimental driverless cars being tested. I noticed in today's newspaper that a fleet of driverless trucks has just been tested in Europe. How disconcerting it must be to pull up alongside something like that. There are even humanoid robots being developed in Japan that look human and are being programmed to interact in ways that are very like people.
The level of complexity required for these innovations is enormous. They must be able to make decisions based on more than static and unchanging conditions such as those in a factory. They must react to - and I suspect will also need to anticipate - what may happen. This is mind boggling but, if things continue as they are, I see us in a few years hopping into an autonomous vehicle which we call to our door with a phone app and being delivered to where we want to go without us even having to think - and I'm not sure whether this is frightening or liberating.