Domestic robots have been used for years. Autonomous devices, such as vacuum cleaners, kitchen robots or even semi-automatic cat litter boxes, greatly facilitate house duties. They can also help with mowing the lawn or cleaning the pool for us. Who does not remember Furby, a furry robot toy introduced in 1990s? More recently the world has gone crazy about robots designed for social interactions. Machines are also used to make work easier. But how possible is it that automation will go as far as taking over our jobs?
Highest risk of being replaced by automation
According to the study by Oxford University and Deloitte from 2013, 35% of jobs are very likely to be automated in the next 20 years. They took into consideration nine skills required to perform any given job and their significance. All in all, 366 types and areas were researched. It is quite a surprise that a lot of white collar jobs are at risk alongside blue collar professions. The risk goes as high as 99% for telemarketers and 98% for referees. People working in electronic industries, transportation and logistics also could be ‘at risk’. Robots might just as well replace models and actors! For building and civil engineering technicians the risk is not as high, but some level of automation will be introduced there as well.
Pros and cons of robots in manufacturing
Accurate programming of robots ultimately increase accuracy and precision of work done. Consistency will also be retained. Maximum output is expected as robots do not need brakes and can work 24/7. Manufacturers will not have to look for reduced labour costs elsewhere, and factories could be placed anywhere. People will no longer have to perform jobs with high risk associated. Such tasks can lead to disastrous consequences as a result of human mistake.
There are, however, some considerations to take into account. Highly advanced automation will initially be very expensive and require certain knowledge of the area. Even though robots would be able to take over human jobs, people would still be needed for maintenance and programming. Wealthier companies will become wealthier and those that cannot afford automation may not be able to even chase their concurrency.
Least affected professions
According to the same study by Oxford and Deloitte, the job of an elementary school teacher is the least possible one to be affected by automation. It is also quite unlikely that anything will change for barristers and judges. Very low probability is associated with mental health workers, biochemists and occupational workers.
Whose hands is the future of labour in?
No matter if robots do replace people or not, they will definitely impact all sectors. Do you need do worry? In the 1800s some labourers at a textile factory destroyed machines out of fear that they will soon be replaced. In fact, productivity improves and labour benefits a lot from introduction of automation. Now some fear that machines will no longer help and facilitate human labour but take over. Automation and introduction of robots will not make all workers redundant. It is hard to automate a wide range of jobs. Both extremes, highly skilled and unskilled workers, should not be at risk.
Rise in unemployment does not necessary mean that there are no jobs. Some openly admit that despite job availability, they do not wish to undertake it. Some live off benefits and do nothing to change it. According to a survey from 2014, more than half of unemployed Americans would not move to another state in order to find a job.
Amazon is in the middle of testing delivery drones that can reach customers much faster than by conventional delivery methods. Unmanned cars and other vehicles are also in the development. Robots with social skills are no longer an imagination of Hollywood. But some questions remain unanswered. Are these benefit all we are facing? Will robots completely take over our lives instead of making them easier? Just remember the film ‘Ex-Machina’ and imagine that happening in real life.
And what do you think about robotics coming into out lives? Share you view in the comments below!