Ever since the time of the Industrial Revolution, the public at large has worried about machines replacing human workers.
Despite the fears there have remained lots of activities that needed a personal touch that machines just couldn’t provide. All that may be changing now, however, due to a new era of robotics.
The future of the human workforce. Recent advances such as driverless cars, human facial recognition software and more have caused industries and economic experts to pause and rethink their predictions about the future of the workforce. If automation technology reaches a new tipping point, what will become of the human workforce?
“It’s gotten easier to substitute machines for many kinds of labor,” said MIT economist Erik Brynjolfson in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “We should be able to have a lot more wealth with less labor. But it could happen that there are people who want to work but can’t.”
Robotic systems everywhere. Automation robotic systems are being used all around the world. In Australia, mining giant Rio Tinto utilizes self-driving trucks and drills at their iron ore mines. Soon, automated trains will carry the ore directly to a port 300 miles away. The Port of Los Angeles is currently installing equipment that will eliminate the need for half of the longshoremen currently running operations.
In addition to industrial help, computers are becoming more adept at doing other tasks like generating stock reports, creating news stories, translating conversations and doing legal workers. Just a few years ago, these jobs would require the human touch.
According to Gartner’s research, a third of all jobs may be lost to automation within the next ten years. Oxford University predicts that half of all current jobs will be performed with machine technology within twenty years. Although most new technology is designed to help improve the productivity of human workers – and not replace them – the reality of automation in the workforce is proving to be different.