Back in the days, robots were always present in futuristic movies or Sci-Fi literature. Now, we entered a new era of technology, where everything is possible. Yesterday’s stories are today’s daily facts. We are able to buy various configurations of home robots that will help around the house, solving domestic problems. We see robots in the army, in the industrial and medical field, even in cyberspace. The AI is evolving every year, and according to Ray Kurtzweil, an expert in Artificial Intelligence, it is very possible for Technological Singularity to be sparked in today’s top-notch computer systems.
High on output, low on jobs
This article started these day, while I was reading New York Times. A headline catch my eye, making me asking myself all kinds of questions: “recovery in the US is lifting profits, but not adding jobs.” The financial crisis of 2008 hit really hard, creating a huge wave of unemployment in the streets. Now, the economy is recovering, but there are still some fields where the employment opportunities have slowly decreased, and this trend started since the Industrial Revolution. So I started to investigate, and I found a field where the number of jobs have drastically decreased over the years, while the output of the companies were growing: the manufacturing industry.
Mark Perry created a chart, combining the data released by BEA and BLS. According to these values, the average manufacturing factory in US in 2012 was producing a lot more than it did back in 1950, with a lower numbers of workers on the job. According to the chart, we can assume that the manufacturing workers in US are busy 24/7 or they got smarter somehow, because every worker was producing ten times more in 2012 than they did in 1947. So, how is this possible? Are they working like crazy or there is another reason for this?
I followed the yellow brick road back to the origins: the Industrial Revolution. Ever since machines were created, factory owners decided that it was good for business to acquire a robot that will do a human’s job better, faster and cheaper. So, slowly, the workers in the producing lines were replaced by heavy metal arms that were programmed to do the job at maximum efficiency. Business owners learned that the robots were reliable, they did not complained, they worked to maximum capacity every day. It was only natural to use them more, and more… and more… making it hard to find a job in a world of robots.
A world of robots
In 2013, robots and computers are used everywhere. With the help of robots, doctors can perform high-risk operations with minimal invasive surgery, sending the patients home the very same day. With the help of computers, we exchange information instantly, with a touch of a button. More than that, we are always connected to the world, using small devices in our pocket, the smartphones. There is no need for a house cleaner, when cleaning robots can do everything faster. Why use a human receptionist, when a robot looking like a human can do the same job 24/7? Soon, every job in the world will be endured by these artificial workers, the robots.
Technology has become a great power for us humans, and we are so proud of it. But like every power, it can be used for opposing purposes: good or bad. If every job in the world can be performed by a robot, faster and cheaper than a human worker, then this is such an easy choice for business owners. My strongly belief is that this trend is unstoppable now, and people need to understand it and adapt accordingly to the future. There are low jobs opportunity in fields like manufacturing and agriculture, but there is a real demand in computing & software, business administration, arts, community. We need to learn more in schools and get those degrees and diplomas, because, whether we want it or not, the future is coming, and there are no jobs in a world of robots.