Tags: robot | jobs | Pew | automated

Pew Survey: Robots Will Take Your Job — Or Not

By    |   Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:38 PM

Experts are divided as to the effect robots and other types of artificial intelligence will have on jobs in the coming years, according to a Pew Research survey.

Of the 1,896 experts surveyed, 48 percent believe robotics will displace large numbers of workers, create huge numbers of effectively unemployable workers and prompt a breakdown of the social order, while 52 percent believe robotics will ultimately create more jobs than it will destroy.

Despite their differences in opinions, both groups agree the smart machines will pervade daily life by 2025 "with huge implications for a range of industries such as healthcare, transport and logistics, customer service and home maintenance," according to Pew.

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"Everything that can be automated will be automated," says Robert Cannon, an Internet law and policy expert.

"At the hardware store, the guy who used to cut keys has been replaced by a robot. In the law office, the clerks who used to prepare discovery have been replaced by software. IBM Watson is replacing researchers by reading every report ever written anywhere."

Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, takes a different view.

"Historically, technology has created more jobs than it destroys and there is no reason to think otherwise in this case," he notes. "Someone has to make and service all these advanced devices."

Experts in both groups fear that our educational institutions are not adequately preparing people for the skills needed for jobs of the future.

"The jobs that the robots will leave for humans will be those that require thought and knowledge," says Howard Rheingold, an Internet sociologist and consultant. "In other words, only the best-educated humans will compete with machines. And education systems in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world are still sitting students in rows and columns, teaching them to keep quiet and memorize what is told to them, preparing them for life in a 20th century factory."

Increasing use of robotics and simultaneously falling unemployment since the recession proves that robots create jobs, argues the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

The North American robotics market has grown an average of 26 percent a year since 2010, according to the trade group. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell from about 10 percent to almost 6 percent.

"While we often hear that robots are job killers, just the opposite is true," states RIA President Jeff Burnstein. "Robots save and create jobs."

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Experts are divided as to the effect robots and other types of artificial intelligence will have on jobs in the coming years, according to a Pew Research survey.
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2014-38-07
Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:38 PM
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