In an economy dependent upon robots, where will we fit in? This is the sort of question we need to start answering as artificial intelligence (AI) inventions increase in skill and start to become viable replacements to human labour in some industries.
It has long been predicted that humans will achieve a level of sophistication in their technology which will make it unnecessary for humans to work anymore, but what wasn’t discussed is what humans will do for money when they can no earn a wage by working. Perhaps the robots won’t come in Terminator fashion, but will really just come and take our jobs instead.
A few industries are already seeing the effects of advanced AI on their employment needs. Knightscape has launched a mall security robot which should eventually lead to the replacement of all “mallcops” with their more efficient robots. Not only are these robots better performers, but they don’t need to take donut breaks either!
Another example is the Dobot M1 which is a high-performing robotic arm capable of doing almost all of the labour intensive manufacturing work we assign to factory workers today. The Dobot M1 is special because it is the first robotic arm of its kind to be affordable by companies that don’t have large cash hordes to invest in these things.
These robotic arms will affect industries that are dependent on mass-production facilities the most. One such industry is the automotive sector which is where many of the best practices for manufacturing originated. This will result in mass layoffs for employees who can be replaced by cheaper and more efficient robots.
What these people will do once they are laid off has not been made clear yet. With their skills quickly becoming outmoded, they will either have to go back to school or become dependent on some sort of welfare system that is more comprehensive than the one we have in place now. What is clear is there is a big change coming and the world is probably not prepared enough to absorb the economic effects these will have on low-skilled workers.