The news that robots are ready to take over our jobs and indeed the world is nothing new, anyone watching the new channel 4 programme Humans will no doubt believe this is a very real possibility.
However, what do we believe is the truth behind the headlines? Well, it is true in many instances and across some key sectors robots are currently undertaking tasks that were once reserved for us mere mortals, you only need to go to the self serve checkout in your local supermarket to see the subtle but definite changes in our world. A little closer to our hearts robots are involved in both computer manufacturing and car production, although as the news last week showed, even using robots to replace humans is not fool proof, sadly with fatal results.
It is however claimed by some reports that robots will be replacing some more traditionally white collar and professional roles that rely on intellectual and cognitive attributes in order to make decisions that can’t be programmed doctors, lawyers, teachers and programmers for example.
So, areas of work that were once considered ‘safe’ are now under scrutiny as people consider their careers, workforce and future.
If the opinions and comments from Big Think’s Andrew McAfee are to be taken on board then our white collar colleagues are in as much danger of losing their roles to robots as there blue collar counterparts.
Another source, the Robot Report a publication which both tracks and analyses the automated industry often features comment and opinion on this very subject. Editor, Frank Tobe states that researchers are now beginning to discover that robotics, artificial intelligence and new, disruptive technology is now challenging those white collar professions which have always previously seemed to be invulnerable. He used FedEx; the US based global courier and delivery service as an example. They are hoping that by 2020 their pilot centre will have only 3 or 4 pilots to fly their fleet of hundreds of planes around the country.
There are also reports of other sector where robots are expected to make an impact, one that is perhaps most surprising, the education sector. Russian tech giants ‘Grishin’ and their CEO Dmitry Grishin has stated that he has invested in a company that is now using robots to teach maths in schools. You can imagine the shockwaves this will be sending through the teaching community as their roles were always considered fairly safe from a robotic takeover.
Our view; there is certainly already evidence where roles are being assisted greatly by advances in technology, in some areas machines and robots are completing tasks once carried out by humans, especially in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, for the IT sector and digital industries this doesn’t have to spell doom and gloom, in fact it could be an area for growth, the days where the robots are building, programming, troubleshooting and maintaining themselves is a bit of a way off (or so we think) so for our sector we could hang on in there for a while yet. In the meantime, we’ll start recruiting for our first robot, just in case!