• Harrison Jones

Should we fear robots replacing us at work?

Updated: May 20, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic grips the world, people are being made redundant, working from home, companies are changing their purpose, and resources are probably being wasted in many industries. Should we fear that robots could soon become the new norm?

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Should We Fear Robots Replacing Humans At Work?

What Has Fuelled This Fear?

Should we fear robots replacing us at work?

If you work in industries such as retail, hospitality or elementary sales - This could put you at high risk. Not for many years though, will we see this shift actually be fully or partially implemented.

The reason we say this is because when events such as global pandemics happen, certain industries will not be able to get the inbound sales, the earnings and the cash flow they need in order to keep operating during that time. By having robots, there is no actual worry about having to lay them off or give them employment support while they're unable to work.

This is especially crucial in businesses like restaurants and cinemas where the shift from human work to AI can be deemed quite simple - Greeting the customer, serving the food and drinks, cleaning the floors etc, it's not a hard job in terms of having intelligence or degree-level expertise. It's much harder to see a brain surgeon robot operating on patients, even though it can, and will happen eventually.

Robots have proved that any human task can be replaced with the correct coding into them, and this is a bad situation for people working in unskilled or low wage industries.

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Should We Fear Robots Replacing Humans At Work?

Current Burden On World's Economy - Is It Time To Think Of Switching?

Should we fear robots replacing us at work?

In many of the G20 nations, the unemployment rate has likely doubled and will continue to grow as the strain of the virus hits industries, along with the same supply and much lower demand, makes it harder for jobs to be kept. As for Singapore, the country has recorded a much higher number of cases in recent days, forcing the nation's authorities to reimpose strict lockdown measures.

This will no doubt have an impact on Singapore's job market, with some predictors stating Singapore's unemployment rate could surpass 5% by the second half of the year.

Robots have come into almost every industry as of the 21st century and now would seem the best time to introduce them on a much broader scale. An Irish robotics company named Akara Robotics had announced it had created a virus-killing robot. This robot could ultimately disinfect hospitals and eradicate traces of viral cells on surfaces.

No human can do a job like waitressing without there being a big risk of catching and/or spreading viruses such as COVID-19. Waiters and waitresses wouldn't normally wear gloves to serve tables in mainstream restaurants, and the prospect of having to do that now might turn off a few restaurants owners, especially if this robot was to show outstanding results in live testing in a similar setup.

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Should We Fear Robots Replacing Humans At Work?

The Statistics Behind The Fear...

Should we fear robots replacing us at work?

Many universities, scientists and manufacturing experts have predicted that 35% of all UK jobs could become mechanized (Completed by robots, instead of by humans), within 20 years. Foxconn for example, are wanting to replace up to 30% of their current workforce in place for robots within 5 years.

It's happened before, this kind of change. Horses were replaced by steam, then steam was replaced by motorized vehicles. The change to the next generation, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is going to happen when businesses have a viable way to cut costs, as well as the eradication of "human rights" (remember, robots are electronically powered, so don't show emotion).

Robots don't have to be physically there either - Take the idea behind robotic process automation, this uses AI-powered technology to automate mundane tasks such as data entry, email management and the building of workflows. This kind of technology can become the new PA (Personal Assistant) for business owners and entrepreneurs - Without them having to pay a wage or provide fair working hours.

Technology is advancing fast, and those who are especially skilled, or working in jobs which require compassionate qualities, such as surgeons, coders, lawyers and counsellors, will be some of the last to be replaced, if at all. Remember, robots don't have feelings, but we can program them to do a lot more tasks than you think.

Thank you for reading 'Should we fear robots replacing us at work?' by IT Block. IT Block is an IT support services provider based in Singapore and a registered Google News source.

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