We have all envisioned a future run by robots. Some may see robots in a positive light in which they work hard for us to make our lives easier. Others see robots in a negative light with images of a dystopian future in which AI decides that having no humans is the best option for the natural world.
Whatever your beliefs about robots and AI, the fact is they’re taking our jobs, but they’re also helping to create jobs too. Should we then fear robots or embrace them? In this article, we explore whether your job is at risk and what the future may hold for us all.
A Brief History of Robotics
Robotics was first introduced in 1938 by Griffith “Bill” P. Taylor. This robot worked like a crane, powered by an electric motor. The robot could grab and rotate.
Following this robot, several more robots were invented. Each expanded in the abilities of the last until Victor Sheinman created the innovative Stanford industrial robotic arm in 1969. This robot would change the game, allowing robots to be used on an assembly line and performing difficult or dangerous tasks such as welding.
Today, robotics make up a large proportion of assembly lines across the world. They work at incredible speed and precision with the use of innovative servomotors to create anything from car parts to surveillance cameras. There has been an increase of 2.25 million robots in use over the last two decades. It’s thought that 11 million more robots will be put to work in China alone by the year 2030.
Jobs Replaced by Robots
Automation has the potential to take over many jobs, including truck drivers, delivery people, and warehouse workers. Automation has already taken many people’s jobs, including assembly line workers, switchboard operators, ticket sellers, lift operators, film projectionists, and checkout cashiers. Robotics can work jobs at high speeds with incredible precision. Humans simply can not compete with them.
Any job that involves building, maintenance, fixing, cleaning, or processing is at high risk.
What Jobs Will Robots Take Over?
Robots are great at working hard in factories, but they lack the emotional intelligence to create beautiful art, complex novels or give a customer excellent service with a smile. But depending on how advanced AI will become, even these creative jobs could be at risk of automation in the near future.
Jobs that will be taken over next include truck drivers, delivery drivers, office assistants, healthcare workers, retail staff, writers, and even soldiers. While robots may not be able to compete with humans on emotion, they can still carry out many tasks within each of these roles to perfection.
For example, writing is a job that requires a certain level of intelligence and emotion to complete. However, in 2015 an AI program was able to write a report on the restaurant Denny’s quarterly results in just two minutes. While not perfect, the report was clear and readable.
It’s thought that those working in creative roles are at least the risk of having their jobs replaced by robots anytime soon. However, AI is becoming more advanced by each day, and automation of creative jobs may come sooner than we think.
How likely is my job going to be automated?
It’s believed that robots can automate 20% of what we currently do in our jobs. This includes predictable physical activity, data collecting, and data processing.
Jobs that could be entirely replaced within this decade include retail salespeople, cooks, servers, janitors, housekeepers, movers, and warehouse workers.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some experts believe that robots can fully automate less than just 5% of our occupation. Instead of replacing our jobs, it’s likely robots will simply restructure our roles.
Automation might be the best thing that ever happened to our workforces. Mundane or dangerous physical tasks will disappear, leaving us to focus on the most critical aspects of our job, like customer service and creativity. No more late-night data entry tasks!
There are three “soft” skills that robots will struggle to automate. These include emotional intelligence, creativity, and leadership. Therefore, it is unlikely that our jobs will be entirely replaced and much more likely that robots will take all the repetitive tasks while we focus on the creative demands of our jobs.
Those working in customer service, planning, arts, design, life coaching, and consulting are probably the individuals at the least risk of having their jobs automated. We will still need a human touch in these roles.