There is no denying certain facts. Things like global warming, sustainable energy and self-realized vehicles make us realize that we are truly living in the age envisioned in science fiction novels of the 50s and 60s. Another common theme mentioned back then is of self-automation work force, or in simpler terms, robots doing manual labour, and this too is becoming a reality with each passing day. Many industries are working to shelve human resources in favour of robots- already in progress in the auto and airline industry, and pretty soon every imaginable job will be done by robotic technology. Let’s delve a bit into this topic and see what the future really holds.
Jobs already taken over
The US Department of labor has a database called the Occupational Information Network which rates the degree of automation(use of automatic equipment in manufacturing) on a scale of one to hundred needed for any job. The higher the number means the more chances are that job can be done by robots.
Jobs such as engravers, assembly line work, crop farm work and robotics engineering attained almost a hundred percentile score range meaning the people working in these sectors can be replaced anytime by automated machines. However, the results also showed that not just labour work is under threat, even jobs like air traffic controller, telephone operators and military services would soon be done by robots.
Jobs that won’t be automated
As adroit as these future robots would be, they still can’t think or exercise liberty like a human can. For example, even though most construction site jobs would be the first to get automated, the operating of a crane which requires physical movement and dexterity would still be handled by a human being. No robot would be capable enough to make beds in a hotel room, another example. Jobs that involve management of people would still be done by human beings in 2050.
To be precise jobs in healthcare such as nurse or dental hygienist are safe from automation. Physicians and surgeons are also in the safe zone, at least until robots become capable of conducting highly complex surgeries. Dieticians, nutritionists are also jobs unlikely to be undone by technology. And of course no robot is going to be a clergy or a showroom dancer. At least we hope not.
Hard swallowing statistics
Having stated the above, most people are quite unaware of how quickly the future is changing. An American job analyst firm gave out the following figures: Currently there are only 1.75 robots for every 1,000 worker in America, but by the year 2025, this figure will increase to 5.25 robots for 1,000 workers which will result in a potential loss of 3.4 million jobs. By 2021 6 percent of all jobs in the US would be automated.
The big question: Is it good or bad?
This is one of the most decisive question that is boggling everyone- Are robotics good? In many ways robots are already here and they have made life easier. But is this a case of calm before the storm? A loss of jobs especially in sectors which employ millions like farms and assembly lines could mean a massive state of unrest among the masses that are simply unaware of the threat. They could revolt. Even today with off shoring of jobs we see that the white collar working class isn’t too happy. Further unhappiness might topple governments. What is to say a massive job cut won’t lead to an uprising?
Another area of concern is, will the robots themselves be capable of conducting such high efficiency jobs in such large numbers? An air traffic controller needs to not just be alert but also make decisions consciously, would a robot be capable enough to do so 24 hours a day, at every airport on the planet?
The jury is still out.