The Robot Workforce Cometh

2008
via GraceMarketData

Robots in our workforce is nothing new, industrial robots have been at the forefront of assembly lines for years now- automotive being the most common. Robots in engineering and construction, robots in medicine, a robot is the jack of all trades! We are starting to see a huge increase in robots, and robots + AI,  as key componments in the technological industry and the global economy.

We are entering a period of change and upgrading the way our work industry operates, and it is not a one, way flowing stream. Mercendes Benz is removing robots and introducing more people in their production lines to “save money and safeguard our future.Drones replacing crewed aircraft, robotic submarines replacing the need for 20 men crew and oxygen. “Soft-robotic rovers” by NASA to go exploring the solar system where no man could ever go. Even proposed autonomous greenhouses and fisheries, that will cultivate and grow our food without us even having to be there to pilot the barge. There are many, many more, some removing us from the occupation, some putting us back in, others entering a domain we couldn’t even go!

The growing concern, is seeing one possible implication of introducing more and more robots to do jobs for us, they will replace us. Perhaps not a large percentage, but enough to worry those in that area. What is the need for concierge or butlers, when Robo-Butler will bring you your food right to your door and eliminate the need to awkward small talk? (On the plus side one has no need to tip a Botler). Though Botler seems to have a handle on this, perhaps it’s counterpart waiters need a few tips in basic customer service.  I suppose we won’t need Uber or Taxi’s anymore, now that there will be self-driving cars around every corner. George RR Martin won’t have to worry about finishing A Song Of Ice and Fire, this robot can probably do it for him.

We often see conversation of these robots replacing humans in the ‘dirty’ work we don’t want to undertake for ourselves, and immediately see it at as a threat to those in those markets, from journalist to marine farmer to uber driver.  We are concerned, because a lot will change. It wise to keep in mind, nothing will happen overnight. We won’t wake up and suddenly your local barista will be a robot or your hairdresser a synthetic human. Revolutions aren’t instantaneous, and like I said, robots in workforces are already quite commonplace. It seems more likely of a shift, not a removal of the human in the workplace. Instead of the mechanic fixing the machine, the mechanic will fix the robot when it breaks. There will be more of a similar style like Mercedes Benz in robots and humans working harmoniously, increasing productivity off one another.

Unfortunately, it won’t likely be the case of Wall-E where robots do everything for us, despite robot’s proven repertoire humans will still be a part of this future. Even with robots in the ‘dirty’ workforce, it is the utopic-view that it will free up humanity for more productive and creative endevours.

Like watching Cat Videos on Youtube for 3 hours straight.

7 thoughts on “The Robot Workforce Cometh

  1. I think the idea of robots taking all our jobs is slightly amusing. the notion seems to have derived from sci-fi/cyberpunk texts depicting a dystopic future where robots have somehow taken over those who have created them (humans). However, I acknowledge there’s a definite reason for concern in this area.
    Here is a piece from Media Watch which discusses the introduction of A.I into the journalistic workforce: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s4268654.htm

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  2. This seems like a really great topic. It is interesting to see a sort of reverse taking place where the “back to the future” idea of the future is being wiped away by perhaps a fear of such technology? This week in Australian media, there has been quite a lot of coverage on Australia posts launch of drones. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/australia-post-launches-new-drone-technology/news-story/94fb1d20e88e54571462546a88b7cfad While still in its trial phase they are looking at having drones deliver mail rather than mail men. I’m still on the fence about this. Is our mail safer with a human or drone?

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  3. Hey there, I really like this topic and I think you’ve done a great job analysing realities and fears around robots in our lives. I think we view robots as this impending threat when as you said – revolutions aren’t instantaneous and robots are already commonplace in our lives. So what creates the disconnect between the reality of robots in our lives and our fears of having robots in our lives? I think it’s important that you have addressed where our fears are coming from. To build on representation v reality, this article (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/10/fear-of-an-ai-planet-what-age-of-ultron-and-ex-machina-get-wrong-about-our-robot-overlords.html) does a great job at comparing representations of AI in films: “the fears expressed in these films are not of how our technology will deviate from our basic human nature. The fear is of what happens if it doesn’t.” Looking at the humanisation of robots is an interesting aspect to add to the root of our fears/anxieties.

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  4. I’m actually quite a fan of robots replacing certain industries, I feel like it would allow for more accurate surgeries in the medical field (also taking away the possibility of human fatigue and error), it would provide an alternative way to do dangerous jobs (imagine robot fire fighters?) and, although I swear I’m not a lazy person, free up our constantly busy schedules. I think unemployment may be a bigger issue to be tackled, but we could possibly bring in a basic income eliminating the stress of job searching and having skills that don’t fit what’s on the market: http://www.basicincome.org/news/2016/04/switzerland-universal-basic-income-would-cost-only-25-billion-chf/
    With robots entering the workforce, I think that creative industries would become more popular then ever since it would open up free time for us to be more creative. I’m looking forward to this future!

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  5. Aha! Intriguing stuff, especially when you start thinking about all the areas where humans and robots can work together in a particular field for a better outcome for both of them! I did a project last year looking partially at drone racing, and to when you think of it as a duo of human pilot safe from harm, robot drone doing the racing and getting the glory, it makes for a Real Steel-esque utopic future of robohuman sporting relations.

    Of course there’s still kind of a flip side. Journalists are beginning to become a thing of the past because of the way humans and robots with our powers combined can turn anyone into a new provider — citizen journalism killed the investigative reporter star and all that (although, again, up for debate how journalistic journalism has been for a while now in our capitalistic modern environment, but y’know).

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  6. I think many people have this vision of robots taking over all of our jobs but how true is this really? What seems more likely to me is that we will work harmoniously alongside robots, increasing productivity and efficiency. There will always be things for us humans to do. If robots took over all of our jobs, what would the human race do all their lives! Working seems to be intrinsic to human nature and I don’t think we would ever give it up to robots. Instead robots will help us and allow magnificent possibilities in many areas of work such as health, education, and space exploration.

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  7. ive been commenting on blog posts all day and theyre all really similari because i only have so much things to say about robots taking over our jobs,

    i think that it is a very real issue that should be in the news more often, Technology has a good and bad side . We will get hurt but will always find a way, maybe through technology to create an immune system that so we dont get hurt.
    which means yes they might take our jobs but we can then specialise , i dont know do something better but then how would we make money and survive.
    Ive been constantly under the impression that technology is only going to be a luxury the rich corps will enjoy at our expense.

    we dont pay factories of workers , but they do . they are all greedy so what better option than replacing them with robots that work tirelessly, for no money, no smoke break, no need to feed them. i mean yes we will rid the world of slave labour but slav labour is an industry and people survive of that. WHat will they do now.

    in terms of robo butler or botlor that would be mad and im looking forward to a robot cracking my first beer open. What about a robot prostitute. has anyone thought of that.
    i wonder what laws theyd make if that were indeed a possibility. would it be rape?
    what would the hourly rate be ?

    what would the other prostitutes feel about a robot joining the ranks..

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