There is a huge fear around the globe that:
The Machines Are Coming!
How much is this reality, fear, or over hype?
Upcoming Machine and robot wars are posed this way.
The machines are fully functional robots that can out-think and out-do all humans. Where has this fantasy been created? TV. Movies. Books. And frankly most media make a robot a villain who kills and takes over humanity.
Now, they are seen as job killers and we all need to be afraid.
So, what’s going on? This is: Part myth. Part reality.
My Robotic Experience
I started 30 years ago, programming ‘pick and place’ robotic arms for auto manufacturers. Then, did the same for welding robots. I learned and applied LISP for rules based problem solving. LISP is one of the oldest AI programming languages. Now, the fashionable AI topic is machine learning that is a new area where computers based on an algorithm can learn, solve problems, and ultimately make decisions based on predicting the direction of data.
Here’s My Experience
We’ve been working on machine learning projects over the last few years. They’ve been fun projects. Here are some of our lessons learned:
- Robotics are here to stay and will change jobs that deal with repetitive skills and recognitions systems. Think barista, bank teller, receptionist, retail cashier, and even radiologists.
- Machine learning is the hot AI area that is growing quickly. Think siri, alexa and other voice recognition programs. These will get smarter very quickly. And yes, some jobs change abruptly. Think middle managers, lawyers, engineers, etc.
- Autonomous vehicles are coming. Fully autonomous (no driver oversight) is still five or more years away. Smart assisted vehicle are already here. Automated parallel parking. Smart braking systems. And yes, truck drivers won’t drive. Pilots won’t fly.
So, What’s Going to Happen to Jobs
All of above are great advances in robotics and automation, But:
People, organizations, and society are not ready for robotics, machine learning and AI. In our AI projects, the technology has been far outpacing the human systems. Even with change management programs, training, and systems, humans were not ready
Machine learning will need a human element to make final decisions involving people, resourcing, and key issues. The machine will provide people with augmented information to enhance risk based, decision making.
Autonomous airplanes and vehicles won’t be totally devoid of people. Pilots and truck drivers will have a new role of providing assurance to humans that the robots are not in control.
There is an automation renaissance going on. It will be bigger than computerization and the internet. It’s a great chance to set up a business if you have an entrepreneurial bent. If you don’t, stay in touch with your profession. Be prepared. Otherwise, you’ll for sure see your job change.