Myths & Facts of robotics and the future of work

Today, the world of work is in a constant state of uncertainty. Be it because of the rapid development of artificial intelligence, robotics, or fear of significant unemployment: anxiety is rising. In these moments of doubt, we humans tend to neglect and sometimes differentiate facts and myths. Before fearing robots or the future of work, it’s necessary to shed light on both before even having an opinion.

A couple days ago, the world has lost the greatest mind of science, Stephen Hawking. He had affirmed that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Was he right? It’s only obvious to listen to the words of such an extraordinary man and scientist. Stephen had views on AI that could spark global discussion. And what about Elon Musk, one of the most influential man of our times, who also believes that artificial intelligence is “our biggest existential threat”?

The truth is, we don’t know if they are right. And we may never know, or on the contrary, we may be able to find out. Before making your own opinion on robotics and the future of work, here are the usual myths and facts you need to read:

Myths

🤖 Robots will lead to mass unemployment

Certainly, some jobs will go ‘extinct’ with the rise of robots. Already to this day, 60% of all occupations have at least 30% of activities that aretechnically automatable
But that also means humans will have to learn new jobs and start upskilling.
Upskilling essentially means we have the opportunity to create new job areas that we haven’t thought of in the past.

Now just think for a second what new skills can bring for the job market? The biggest myth of all is that the future is jobless. Technology creates new jobs and income possibilities!

🤖Robots are smarter than humans

We’ve heard that, perhaps, robots will become smarter than us, take all of our resources and make the human race go extinct. This may just slightly be a bit far-fetched.
Undoubtedly, AI is already getting smart, but not smarter. Intelligence is such a complex capacity. Obviously, computers and general AI can work on processes much quicker than us – but that doesn’t mean they are smarter. Till this day, robots can’t recognize patterns, or recall memories, or have feelings, or think creatively… to state a few.

🤖All robots are humanoid

Another myth is that all robots are humanoid. Certainly, there are a lot of humanoid robots out there – just look at Baby X: and how creepy it is to see a robot baby so human-like. Some robots have human features, but that doesn’t mean all of them do or will. Sometimes a “humanoid” design doesn’t fit a specific robot. And besides, according to experts, we don’t like robots that look too much like us – because they threaten our sense of identity.

🤖Robot systems are difficult to use

Robots are such reliable machines. And according to Scott Furlong, “robots are easy to control when quality control is put in place for programming and testing of bots. And theft by a robot is practically non-existent.” As long as the right quality control is used, there is no fear to have on the use or misuse of robots.

Facts

🤖The AI market is expected to make over $5 billion by 2020

According to industry research, the Artificial Intelligence market is estimated to make an astonishing $5 billion or over by 2020. And that’s in just…2 years.

🤖80% of executives believe AI boosts productivity

Based on a 2015 survey by AI language company Narrative Science, 80% of executives believe that AI will boost performance and create new jobs.
As quoted on their page,“The survey shows that people understand that AI doesn’t harm people or steal jobs, it turns technology into a true partner; empowering employees to be more productive, creative and better at what they do.”

🤖Almost all businesses today have an AI component

Take the online retail giant Amazon, or Apple, IBM or even Facebook and Twitter: they all implement artificial intelligence in their businesses. Facebook even has 3 major AI labs now. Additionally, according to Gartner, by 2020, AI will be in nearly every new software product.

🤖But more than half the world’s population is still offline

More than four billion people are still offline. The offline population is present in countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and more. They are entering the global digital economy without benefiting from today’s digital potential.
To conclude, robotics or technological change is not something new. They’ve reshaped the workplace over the past two centuries. Today, the speed in which robotics and general artificial intelligence are developing is certainly incredible. But let’s not fear technology and robots. They are the sign of a huge economic value and have an enormous potential to make our working lives better.

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