At that time, the United States military and its unmanned army occupied more than two dozen countries, imposing a repressive order upon the planet’s most backward nations. The international outcry over the preemptive campaigns had long since died down as economies thrived under the U.S- provided-security. Capital flowed freely across national borders, transportation costs were less than marginal, and specialization had occurred on a global level. Health care and agriculture accounted for two-thirds of America’s GDP, China served as the world’s manufacturing floor, India had transformed itself into the planet’s recycling center, and Europe, for all intents and purposes, had been reduced to a wine-swilling tourist destination. Of course, the Europeans themselves were quite content with this role. They were the first to accept that, in the age of the robot, production was no longer the realm of man. They had embraced their marginalization and focused on those few activities that remained the exclusive purview of humanity – entertainment, recreation, leisure.
Of course, by the late 21st century, any pesky illusions about humanity’s contributions to the world had been debunked in the U.S. as well. Robots were the ones that made things happen. This was accepted fact. Robots harvested crops, butchered cattle, processed meat, transported food, and prepared meals. Robots cleared tables, disposed of trash, recycled waste, and distributed reprocessed commodities. Robots smelt metal and formed plastics. Robots designed and manufactured clothes, cars, planes, satellites, homes, and of course, other robots.
Within these processes, the role of the human had been trivialized. Take, for example, the noblest of human pursuits – medicine. There was no longer any meaningful place for man. Robots drew blood, diagnosed illnesses, and performed surgeries. The doctor was left with nothing to do but sit alongside the family in the waiting room, cooing supportively as old women cried softly and young children recoiled from their feelings. A doctor was nothing more than a glorified matron, tending to the emotions of anxious patients and frightened families as robots saved human lives by practicing a human science more effectively than any human ever could. Not surprisingly, the demand for doctors had plummeted by the 2070s, while nursing remained one of America’s few growth industries.