3 Reasons to not fear Robots

3 Reasons to not fear Robots

James Lawrence 11.05.2017

The robot revolution will create jobs

It is becoming increasingly common on LinkedIn to read about the fear of losing your job to a robot. Most notably the comment sections on Amazon Go articles are full of negativity. The reality is, in every business, there are people whose job can be done by a robot.

For some, the instant reaction to this is fear and uncertainty. It is not a new theme since the industrial revolution of the late 18th century there has been a consistent rejection of innovation and technology by some groups centred on an outcry regarding mass unemployment.

I find it disappointing to see less support and championing for the jobs being created by the innovations around robotics. Programmes need to be developed and maintained, projects need to be delivered, transformations managed, services sold... the list continues!

There are well over 1000 people on LinkedIn in Australia who are working in this industry, and over 100 jobs advertised just on LinkedIn, plus more than 200 on Seek.

Granted the jobs are different, and most likely those losing their semi-skilled jobs will not be able to walk into a robotics role. However, the world is changing as it has and always will. Skills have become relevant now which were not even in existence 20 years ago when I was at school.

Robots will not create mass unemployment because human capabilities and human interaction will be needed, at least for the medium term future.
  
Time & Efficiency

On the basis that a robot hasn’t taken your whole job, robots will make your life much more efficient. The idea is that they will perform the tasks that are easily automated for a robot but laborious for a human.

IBM Watson’s performance on jeopardy showed the ability for robots to respond to questions from a human, which is highly transferrable to many laborious situations - just take the call centre environment, for example.

Most current call centres have an automated first response programme to direct your call to the appropriate area of the business. Imagine speaking with Watson, a fully automated chatbot that can diagnose and offer solutions to your queries, all without having to speak with a human. If you have to speak with a human, you will still have that ability, however, the reduction in human-human interactions means less time out of your lunch break on hold with a certain entertainment and internet provider.

I look at some of my daily tasks and think they could easily be automated, and the reality is, if they were I would have much more time for commercially focused tasks.

I’d like to say all my time is precious however I, like all, succumb to procrastination. But more time in the day would be great, and if a robot can give that to me then I would be very happy.

It’s a sign of our innovation and progression

We are in a state of exponential proliferation.

Think of a computer in the 1950’s, think of your first mobile phone, think of your first games console. Remember when you didn't have a computer at your desk? (I personally don't but I'm sure there are still lots of you that do!)

It’s new and to some scary or concerning what robots can and will be able to do, both in the workplace and at home. But these advancements are making the world a better place. 

Yes, we focus on the business or personal aspects of robots in our lives, but we should also consider the wider impact on society.

Some ideas are already in motion - self-autonomous cars creating less fatal crashes. First response units to natural disasters and dangerous situations. Cleaning the oceans of plastics and other pollution. Countless other ideas are being created as we speak.

Robots will play an ever increasingly role in daily life over the next few decades, and in my eyes, we should welcome this trend rather than fear it, because it will make our world a safer place.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wide variety of benefits robotics will bring to our society. Morgan McKinley’s expert panel will delve into many of these concepts, and a broader discussion of social implications, at our upcoming Robotics and Artifical Intelligence breakfast. This event is now sold out however if this is a topic that is of interest to you, watch this space. We will be producing a white paper off the back of our panel discussion and a blog series with video footage of the event. Keep an eye out on morganmckinley.com.au for updates.

James Lawrence's picture
Consultant | Strategy and Innovation Recruitment
jlawrence@morganmckinley.com.au