Jobs in danger of extinction?

robot_assitantLet’s look at how welfare and transport work is already being done by robots. Does Technology pose a threat for humans?

A few years ago, we might have started this article wondering if technology could substitute a person doing a job. Nowadays, we don’t even need to ask: it’s already happening! Let’s look at some examples…

Humanoids caring for old people

In Japanese geriatric facilities robots are already being used as an experimental way of looking after the elderly. They look like a small person (they are about 50 centimetres tall, with legs and arms), provide companionship and help the elderly person live independently and safely: they check that the door is locked properly; they make sure you don’t forget your wallet/your keys; and that you take your medicine. In cases of senile dementia, it means that the patient can be monitored constantly without the emotional and physical strain that this may entail. According to several studies around 80% of care providers of an elderly family member suffer from stress and anxiety.

Experimenting with robotic systems in the field of geriatrics is the answer to the potential problems foreseen in the long-term. In 2050, around 20% of the world population will be made up of elderly adults (the over 65-year-old population is already at around 25% in Japan) and it seems that there won’t be enough trained professionals to meet the demand in this field.

Android nurses
Additionally in Japan, where there are robot sales assistants, receptionists and cleaners, they are also using android nurses in hospitals.  As of right now they are not substituting flesh-and-blood nurses and are basically doing patient support work such as holding the patient for a medical test or treatment. There is a general rejection within the Japanese society when it comes to putting their life into the hands of intelligent systems (after seeing the film, “I – Robot”, I think I’d feel the same) but the need is based, yet again, on the lack of professionals.

                  

Where’s the taxi-driver?
It seems that Google is mulling over the idea of designing robot-taxis that drive themselves.  They did a study in 2012 to see what cities were the most ideal for carrying out pilot tests and New York was one of the top favourites: It’s the US city with the highest number of taxis and is already a pioneer in putting electric taxis into practice.  According to the Google plan, the robot-taxis would have a human companion at first to give the passenger a sense of security, but they would eventually work alone.

This has to stop – or does it?

We don’t want you to panic after reading this. At JobisJob we’re fans of technology and in fact without it, it wouldn’t be possible for you to see job offers from all over the world with just one click! We don’t think that there is any turning back; the discovery of fire, the wheel, steam, internet… Each of these inventions have been stepping stones used to elevate our society, who’s main challenge has been the ability to adapt to changes and channel these advances in order to benefit the people.

Let the machines do the work and we’ll reap the harvest! The greatest potential of technology – although it has a very high day-to-day cost – lies in its huge capacity to make all kinds of ideas a reality. But it is clear that a new productive system is necessary so that its integration into the mechanism of society is neither traumatic nor exclusive. The British economist, J. Keynes, father of modern macro-economics, said that – at this stage – we should be working 15 hours a week and enjoying a much higher standard of living. Yes, he was wrong – but that should be the job of technology! Workers should not be eliminated, instead there should be new scenarios where the most arduous, monotonous and superhuman work is done by machines, leaving the human being in charge of creating, exploring and learning (Long gone will be the days when you hear your boss say: “I don’t pay you to think”)

When any jobs are lost, the employment market automatically presents new opportunities and needs. Governments need to make sure that emerging technologies are within everyone’s reach and we are offered the training and know-how in order to compete in the new labour and financial markets that are on the horizon. This way we’ll be able to reap the benefits as well. And we must be very demanding about that!

Technology isn’t going to drive us mad – We’d be mad if we didn’t take advantage of its potential!

Little Robot by Seemann 

 for JobisJob

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