How will robots affect employment in the coming years? According to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte, about 35 percent of current jobs in the UK are likely to be taken over by robots in the next 20 years. Oxford University academics, Michael Osborne and Carl Frey, conducted research to assess how susceptible different jobs are to automation.
The two researchers used nine key skills required to perform a job to make their analysis: persuasion, negotiation, perceptiveness, originality, assisting and caring for others, the need to work in a cramped space, fine arts, manual dexterity and finger dexterity.
The talk of robots eliminating the need for human employees is no longer just speculation but is reality; the question is when. Repetitive jobs such as data entry are at risk of being taken over by machines.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an art that designs smart machines that work alongside humans, sometimes taking over some tasks that would otherwise be performed by people. A lot of progress has been made in artificial intelligence research since robots entered the world decades ago.
Driverless cars are at advanced stages of testing, and could be on our roads in a couple of years. Engines that use algorithms can predict outcomes in stock exchanges, read documents, write articles and give suggestions for books and films.
Intelligent machines can outsmart humans in performing tasks because they are fast and efficient. They don’t suffer from fatigue as humans do. A smart machine can read millions of documents in a matter of seconds.
A lot of progress is getting made in the world of artificial intelligence, and the reality of how robots will transform the world remains to be seen.
Robots to Improve Human Life
Research into how robots can help humans is extremely ambitious and could eliminate diseases and viruses, give soldiers in battlefields superhuman strength, and eventually make humans immortal. There are some ethical issues concerning the use of robots in some situations, such as in battlefields. It is considered unethical to have a weapon in battle if a human is not controlling it.
Losing a limb or an organ can incapacitate an individual, but in the future, robotic implants will perform better than the ordinary human body. Artificial intelligence systems are overcoming hurdles and becoming efficient.
The future for humans looks bright with robots coming to the rescue to make the world safer. Traffic accidents could get drastically reduced or eliminated altogether. Robots could save lives in times of disasters, such as earthquakes and nuclear meltdowns. Robots will become assistants to humans but far more superior, making the human race better and moving civilization forward.
It might take a decade or longer fill the world with robots, but there is no limitation in what is possible.
If you are worried that machines could take over your job, have a look at some of the tasks that are getting done by machines, which could eliminate the need for a human workforce in the coming years. Here are some of the jobs that might be done away with by robots.
The future of taxi drivers hangs in the balance. First came Uber - the app-based, on-demand service that became a threat to the ordinary taxi driver, and caused rows in the sector. Before the dust settles on that row, Uber and other players such as Google are already working on eliminating the taxi drivers altogether by launching driverless taxis, which could be in operation in the UK in a couple of years or less.
Some taxi drivers are still defiant, arguing that driverless cars operations are still in their infancy, not yet tested, and that it could take years to perfect their operations - especially in busy, urban traffic alongside conventional vehicles. They believe that even though there is a likelihood that driverless taxis could take over their jobs that might be a long way off.
Some factories in China are already investing heavily in robots which are expected to cut down the human workforce, with Shenzhen Evenwin Precision Technology – owner of the first robot-only factory being built in China's Dongguan factory city - predicting a reduction of up to 90 percent.
The trend of replacing factory workers is expected to become popular over the coming years, and could include workers in retail outlets. The trend includes global players such as Apple, whose plans in 2015 were to replace up to 30 percent of the workforce with robots over a five-year period.
Robots can take data and convert it into articles. Narrative Science chief scientist Kristian Hammond had predicted in 2015 that in 15 years' time, 90% of news would be written by machines. He told the BBC this did not necessarily mean that 90% of journalist jobs would go.
Journalists will need to spread their reach because in future they will not be required to generate news from data.
One field that is likely to have a huge input from robots is the medicine. Robots can go through piles of data and come up with cures for diseases. Robots can also be helpful in spotting the early onset of diseases such as cancer.
Robots already work side by side with doctors performing key-hole surgeries in some hospitals in the US. The robot surgeries are not yet perfect, and there have been over 100 deaths attributed to them. There is the likelihood that as robots become more and more efficient, humans will no longer be required for such procedures.
Robots are faster and have the advantage of not getting fatigued. As robotic surgery becomes safer and more widespread in future, patients are likely to opt for it over the services offered by humans as it will be faster and less costly.
There are tasks that get normally done by nurses that can be handled by robots. Robots can go through data about an individual, match it with treatments and dispense medication, besides attending to the patient and reporting in case the person is in distress. Robots are becoming more efficient, with some even able to understand changes in human emotions.
Workers who Care For the Aged
The world’s population is living longer, thanks to advancement in medicine, giving rise to the need for homes that care for the aged. Robots can enable elderly people to live in their homes longer by playing the role of assistants. Robots can serve food and drinks, clean, put the aged to bed, give them their medication and notify someone if the person fails to get out of bed.
A luxury ship installed a robotic bar, Shakr Makr, a machine that was developed at MIT some years ago. Drinks get ordered via a tablet device, and robotic arms are used to prepare and serve the orders instead of a human bartender.
Drinks mixed by robots still lack the human precision of a human bartender, but as robots become more efficient, the need for humans in the bartending business will dwindle.
Robots are still not very efficient, but as their efficiency improves in the coming years, there is a real possibility they could take over the workforce and eliminate the need for human workers, or at least drastically reduce numbers.
What do you think about the robotics movement? Do you think this will put your job at risk? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.