Last month, iRobot, the intelligent robot making company revealed its latest robot, Roomba i7+, that maps and stores your house and also empties the trash automatically. Last week, Google announced its plans to launch a ‘Cloud Robotics platform’ for developers in 2019, which will encourage efficient robotic automation in highly dynamic environments. Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it is opening a chain of 3,000 cashier-less stores across the US by 2021. And most recently, Walmart also announced that it is going to launch a cashierless store next year.
The terms ‘Automation’ and ‘Robotics’ sometimes have a crossover, as Robots can be used to automate physical tasks while many types of automation have nothing to do with physical robots.
The emergence of AI robots will reduce the need for a huge human workforce, boost the productivity of organizations and reduce their time to market. For example, customer service and other front-end jobs can function 24*7*365 without an uninterrupted service. Within industrial automation, robots can automate time-consuming physical processes. Collaborative robots will carry out a task in the same way a human would, albeit more efficiently!
The positives aside, AI there is a danger of it getting out of control as machines can go rogue without humans in the loop. That is why members of European Parliament (MEPs) passed a resolution recently on banning autonomous weapon systems. They emphasized that weapons like these, without proper human control over selecting and attacking targets are a disaster waiting to happen.
At the more mundane end of the social spectrum, the dangers of automation are still very real. Robots are expected to significantly replace a lot of human labor. For instance, as per the World Economic Forum survey, in 5 years, machines will do half of our job tasks of today as 1 in 2 employees would need reskilling/upskilling. Another study by renowned economist Andy Haldane, The Bank of England’s chief economist says 15 million jobs in Britain at stake with Artificial Intelligence robots set to replace humans at workforce.
As of now, having AI for organizations is a treat due to the different advantages they provide over humans. Although it will replace jobs, people can upskill their knowledge to continue thriving in the automation augmented future.