According to Business Insider, “There’s a BakeBot robot whipping up fresh cookies at MIT; hospitals are now employing medical robots to assist their doctors; and a robot named Baxter can beat any human at the popular logic game Connect Four, among many other tasks.
“Historically what we thought was that robots would do things that were the three D’s: dangerous, dirty, and dull,” explains Ryan Calo, professor at University of Washington School of Law with an expertise in robotics. “Over time, the range of things that robots can do has extended.” In fact, there are experts who believe that by 2025 robots will have taken over 30% of our jobs. And unfortunately, if yours is one of the following you could find yourself replaced.
If you drive a cab, or for one of the ride sharing companies or even a truck you could be out of work by 2025. Google is working on an automated car as a way to help increase safety and reduce commuting times. Its cars have already driven 1000 miles with no human intervention. Several other companies, including BMW, are also working on driverless cars and Mercedes Bands is developing a driverless truck. We can guess that companies such as International and Kenworth probably have their own projects as well.
While you might not think pharmacists could be replaced by robots they can. In fact, the UCSF Medical Center recently introduced a robotics-controlled pharmacy at two of its hospitals. Computers are used to receive orders from physicians and pharmacists. Robotics then pick, package and dispense the pills. So far, this system has prepared 350,000 medication doses without error. Will you soon see this at your neighborhood Walgreens? Maybe not in the next few years but possibly by 2025.
Sadly enough the days when we could watch astronauts go to work in space may soon be coming to an end. NASA’s Robotnaut2 has a variety of sensors and five fingered hands. It will be used initially for menial jobs such as cleaning the space station. However, it could eventually go outside the station to help astronauts make repairs or perform scientific experiments.
As you may have learned from watching Hollywood movies robots can be terrible things. But they can also be very entertaining. The Japanese retailer Aeon Co. recently introduced a yellow and white robot at a store whose job is to babysit kids while their parents shop. There is also a Hello Kitty robot, which is said to be perfect for parents that do not have a lot of time to be with her children. NEC’s PaPeRo robot gives quizzes, tells jokes and can even track children via radio-frequency chips. We wonder what all those 14-year-old girls are going to do with the time they would have spent earning money babysitting.
Here’s a robot we literally can’t see getting here fast enough. While soldiers are still required on the battlefield today we are clearly moving towards replacing them We have already seen drones and other machines being used in combat and reconnaissance missions. For example, there is the Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System MAARS) made by Foster-Miller. It’s equipped with a GPS monitor and can be programmed to tell the difference between fire and no-fire zones, to drag out injured bodies and to open doors.
Reporters and sportswriters
The company Narrative Science specializes in stories generated by machines. It uses software developed by Northwestern University. Already the Big 10 network is using the service for coverage of baseball and softball because it’s cheaper than sending a sports writer. The way this works is that after a game, scorekeepers email game information to Narrative Science that feeds it into a computer, which then spits out a story in just a few minutes.
Telemarketers are already being replaced and there is a 99% chance that one day they will be totally replaced by robot technology. There’s probably not a day that goes by that we don’t receive a Robo call and the day is coming when it will work the other way and we will be calling the robots. Call-center work can be boring and frustrating for the people who work there and expensive for those that employs them. All it takes is some time and the proper software before the day comes when you call a company such as Comcast and end up talking with a robot – which may be better or worse than what happens when you call Comcast today.
It was William Shakespeare who said, “The first thing we do is let’s kill all the lawyers.” While that’s not likely to happen many of them could be replaced by robots. Why pay a huge number of paralegals and lawyers to review documents when there is software that could do the job at a fraction of the price and in a fraction of the time. Blackstone Discovery has software that analyzed 1.5 million documents at a cost of less than $100,000. Of course, while this might be a more efficient way to analyze documents it’s much harder to bill out the time of a machine so some of these jobs may not be eliminated – at least not in the near future.
Librarians, retail assistants and cashiers are all likely to be replaced. This is due to the fact that companies want to sell more products but with fewer employees. ATM machines have already reduced the need for bank tellers, and virtual assistants can answer phones 24/7. Self-service machines are already decreasing the need for clerks at check out. And there are chain restaurants such as Red Robin that have those little computer screens where you can place your order and then pay for your meal. In fact, $740 billion was transacted via self-service machines in 2010, which was up 9% from the previous year and this number is probably now over $1.1 trillion.
First responders no longer have to risk their lives as much as just a few years ago. For example, there are robots that can search areas that are inaccessible to us humans. They can also provide critical help in rescuing people who were the victims of natural disasters. For today the most useful of these robots are aerial drones that can locate underwater objects and determine the condition of pipelines and bridges. But it just makes sense to send robots into fires and collapsed buildings rather than risk the lives of firefighters and other rescuers. So it’s easy to see this appearing on the near horizon.
While this is all great, how about they find a robot that can help us improve our financial and credit situation? That would be really awesome.