Will You Need To Work If Robots Do Everything?Posted: 24th of May 2016 by
Should you worry about a robot taking your future job? will you need to work if robots do everything? Find out why there is no reason to fear the future and discover how to future-proof your career.
Often articles get printed which paint a picture of a terrible, dystopian future. Today is no exception, with the publication of the article, If robots are the future of work, where do humans fit in? an interview with economist Robin Hanson, by Zoe Williams, in the Guardian.
The article discusses the possibility of what Hanson calls Ems. These are emulations; robots manufactured by scanning the brains of the 200 best and brightest human beings on the planet. These Ems will apparently be identical to their human counterparts in every way, except that they will be a thousand times faster and better.
Robots will take our jobs
The article, drawing on Hanson, claims that these Ems will “undercut humans in the labour market, and render us totally unnecessary.”
The future looks pretty bleak if you believe all the scaremongering. There is talk of people who fail to decide on study options, because they don’t know what skills they will need and people who can’t get a job because robots have taken them all. Often there is talk of humans simply living a life of leisure, because that is all there is for them to do. (Let’s just conveniently ignore the necessity for people to earn money in order to take part in leisure activities. Even if the robots work for free, one presumes that the person who has to run the factories and maintain the robots won’t)
Don’t be afraid of the future – get ready for it
There have been three hugely transformative industrial revolutions to date. The first was the 1978 steam, water and mechanical production methods revolution. Next came the 1870 electricity and mass production revolution and in 1969 the electronics, IT and automated production revolution occurred, changing the way we work and live massively.
There have always been those who fear the future and technological advance. The Luddites for example were are group of 19th century English textile workers feared for their jobs and protested when the power loom was invented.
Robotics will change the way we work
It is true that robotic technology is and will continue to change the way that we work. But there is no reason to think that this will lead to human beings being obsolete – that’s just silly (as silly as being terrified of educating, training or employing females on the basis that men won’t have any jobs to do). Certainly, some jobs will change and some will be done by machines. But equally, many new jobs will emerge – interesting, technological and skilled jobs.
Robots can’t do everything
Regardless on Hanson’s claim that these future Ems would be identical to the humans that they are designed based on. There is so much about the human mind that we do not understand – for example we have no answer yet as to what produces ‘qualia’. Qualia is the word used to describe what it feels like to experience something. Much of the way that we behave is driven by these feelings of qualia and therefore, until we have an answer to this – we can’t even begin contemplate producing robots so like us. Not that you should imagine the future as filled with human looking robots anyway.
Many of the jobs that humans do require a complex combination of skills; hairdressing for example requires the technical skill to cut, colour, perm, relax etc. hair and whilst this may appear to be a fairly routine task that a robot could do, it isn’t. Hairdressing is in fact a non-routine, physical task, which requires the hairdressing to use their imagination and to apply their knowledge and skills to a unique situation and to apply judgment.
Choose a career for the future
You should embrace technology. You cannot halt the march of progress. If anything, think about the jobs that now exist in risk management roles as well as ethics which exist BECAUSE of the advent of technology. If you are genuinely worried about the robots, then get studying for a future role when you can ensure that safety procedures and guidelines are in place to enable us to enjoy the benefits of robotic technology whilst understanding and safeguarding against any risks.
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