The fourth industrial revolution is here! Today’s headlines read; “Robots will take over most jobs within 30 years, experts warn”, “Better Than Human: Why Robots Will- And Must – Take Our Jobs”, “What Happens When Robots Take Our Jobs?”These headlines are quite futuristic to me, because robots have already taking over human jobs. What bothers me is that Nigerians do not seem to be bothered about robots. If in a country like Nigeria where robots are yet to take over human jobs, so many people are jobless, what will happen when robots begin to take over jobs, how many people will go jobless? We (Nigerians) may want to wave this off as usual, saying “it is a western thing, it cannot take place here”. My answer to this is; it can and will, because of the many benefits robots possess. Every employer wants to save cost and increase profit; employing robots rather than humans make these possible. I am writing this article, to get our people informed and ready. There is an adage that says…”to be forewarned is to be forearmed”.
Martin Sandbu’s quest on why so many people in the United States are jobless, made him title his article “Who stole the jobs: robots or globalization?” In his article, he argued that both robots and trade are to blame for job loss, and that the two cannot be neatly separated, he observed that the manufacturing industry has been mostly affected by this automation.
Two economists Daron Acemogl and Pascal Restrepo of Boston university estimated in their new paper that “one more robots per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio by about 0.18-0.34 percentage points and wages by 0.23-0.5 percent ”. These robots actually take over jobs that were previously performed by humans. Since this is the case, what happens to the future of jobs and wages, how are families to cope?
I will suggest that people should start checking if their careers or jobs have already been taken over by robots, or about to be taken over, then look for alternative means of income for themselves and their families.
Below are jobs already being taken over by robots as listed by MSN
– Top on MSN list is the Chef job: human chef has been replaced by a 100 percent automated intelligent robot chef, very good at learning any recipe and techniques, and able to follow it to the letter, even to the extent of cleaning up after itself.
– Manufacturing jobs: According to MSN “Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn replaced 60,000 employers with robots”. While Everwin Precision Technology in China is in the process of replacing 90% of its workers with automation.
– Surgeons: presently robo-surgeons are being used to carry out surgeries sch as; knee replacement and vision correction. It is predicted that in the future robots will operate independently on patients thereby replacing human surgeons.
– Retail sales associate : a friendly android is snatching this job from unsuspecting humans. Nestle is using pepper robots in departmental stores at Japan to sell Dolce Gusto Coffee pods and machines, as well as answer customers queries.
– Security guard: robotic security guards are being hired to patrol business premises . These robots monitor their surroundings for suspicious behavior, they are able to detect criminal audio event, such as screaming, breaking of glass etc.
– Shepherd: In Australia, shepherds are now used to care for livestock including cattle and sheep. The robot is able to corral animals in its care, monitor their health and even examine the quality of the pasture.
– Pharmacy: this automation is used by hospitals to dispense prescriptions. It is considered a better alternative to human pharmacist because of its ability to be very accurate, thereby averting death of patients due to human pharmacy error.
– Food delivery: will soon be replaced by a self driving robot
which is fitted with GPS and cameras to navigate thoroughfares. It is very secured. An attempt to steal this robot will immediately result in an alert being sent to the control room, and the photo of the thief taken.
-Farmers : Japan is about to launch the world first robot farm. The robots will water, feed, harvest and transplant the crops.
-Journalist : Forbes has adopted a technology from a US tech company Narrative Science, for its corporate earnings reports. Associate Press also use this technology for financial and sports reports.
-Soldiers: This job has been taken over by drones, which has replaced hundreds of soldiers in combat field. It is believed that by 2030 combat soldiers will be replaced by robots.
-Receptionist: robots have not spared this job either, although not as warm as human receptionists; they are able to greet customers. A hotel in Tokyo uses a multi-lingual android robot to greet its customers.
– Telephone sales person: this job is already being handled by robots. Most sales calls are now generated by voice bots. It is predicted that as artificial intelligence gets more sophisticated, robots will be the ones performing this job.
– Construction worker: with the help of the latest mega sized 3D, a whole building can be constructed with minimal human labor. Example is the Chinese real estate Huashang Tengda, who built a two story house with the help of 3D printer within 45 days.
– Accountant: this job is on its way to robots. Many organizations are already automating their accounts. Lexmark and Basware presently provide fully automated account system that practically does everything from matching purchase orders to flagging invoice for payment.
– Tour Guide: human tour guide have lost their jobs to robot completely, Japan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation is one of such organizations who employs scarily human-like androids to act as exhibition guides.
– Mixologist : robots are now used in place of human mixologist to mix anyone of 300 cocktails to perfection. This, they do under seconds, better than humans who may not get the drink mixture right.
– Bar Man: already in East Germany, robot is employed as barman. He has ability to mix drinks, and interacts with human by keeping them company with small talks.
– Librarians: Robots performing this job are very good at what they do. They can laser-scan shelves and tell exactly which books are missing or misplaced, organize shelves as well as track down books.
– Hospital administrator: a robot with the abilities to organize a nurse schedules and source bed for patients is on the way, being put together by Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer science And Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
– Teacher: a meter high educational robot, fitted with microphones, HD cameras and 3D censors to enable it interact with students and even detect their emotion is currently used as a teacher in a school at Japan, as well as London Design and Engineering University.
Why Replace Humans With Robots
The answer lies in the following :
Productivity: Their work is of good quality and very accurate. Unlike humans, they do not make mistakes. They are able to produce greater quantity in short time because they do not go on holiday or break time, but work at a constant speed and are able to perform applications with more repeat-ability than humans.
Savings: robots save time through their ability to produce greater magnitude of products, and because they are always accurate, they reduce amount of wasted material used for production, thereby saving companies money with quick return on investment. They also reduce workers injuries.
Safety: Robots save workers from performing dangerous tasks. They work in very hazardous conditions, such as toxic chemical, tight spaces, poor lightening; thereby helping worker’s to stay safe. They work without getting tired, able to lift heavy loads.
What will humans do, since robots are so good in what they do? ROBOTWORX argues that the ‘belief’ that robots have taken away jobs from workers is not necessarily true, it is a misconception. Robots have actually created new jobs. Those who were in production lines, now have a career in programming, they have removed people from monotonous and repetitive jobs to better and more challenging jobs.
So why wait till you are replaced by a robot? “Make hay while the sun shines” search for a new career where your expertise will be on hot demand, help your children choose their career wisely.
Written by Vera Aigbonoga