In the next couple of decades, our society will undergo many changes and will be quite different from what it is today. One significant factor that impacts and transforms various aspects of everyday life is the rapid expansion of the artificial intelligence and robotics industry.
Scientists, industry experts and ordinary people express opposing viewpoints about the potential outcomes of the active AI and robotics development. And if some believe that smart technologies have inexhaustible power and vast benefits, others are scared of the possible “rise of the machines” and the destruction of the human race.
Let’s take a look at the situation from different perspectives and discuss some predictions for the future of robotics and artificial intelligence.
1. Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Displace Many Jobs
The most pessimistic forecast regarding industrial automation is that millions of people may lose their jobs because robots will replace them. This fear is not without reason. The implementation of machine learning algorithms and various kinds of robots into business and manufacturing process es has many advantages; primarily, increased productivity. This is beneficial for business owners who will introduce new technologies, often to the detriment of employees.
A report by Statista demonstrates that the global automation market revenue is expected to grow by more than $50 billion by 2020, as compared to 2016.
Global automation market size in 2016 and 2020, by segment (in billion U.S. dollars)
The McKinsey Global Institute says in its study that by 2030, between 400 million and 800 million employees could be displaced by automation around the world. In the US alone, from 39 to 73 million jobs (that is around one-third of the total workforce) can be taken from people and passed on to computers.
PwC UK Economics suggests that up to 30% of UK jobs could potentially be displaced by the early 2030s; for Germany, the number is 35%; for Japan — 21%.
Such a drastic consequence will be compared to the Industrial Revolution when society shifted from agriculture to manufacturing.
What Kinds of Jobs Are Most Likely to be Taken by Artificial Intelligence Robots?
These are jobs that require repetitive tasks such as working on the assembly line, software testing, creating financial reports and compiling other documents based on data. Medical diagnostics is also at a high risk of automation.
The jobs where robots will have the least impact have to do with people management, social interactions and creativity. As a rule, they are difficult to automate, but even if possible, it would be very expensive in comparison with human wages, which is not attractive from the business point of view.
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Which Industries Will be Disrupted the Most and the Least?
The greatest disruption caused by smart technologies will be in the banking sphere, manufacturing and automotive industry. In medicine and healthcare, branches such as diagnostics, drug formulation or clinical trials will also be greatly influenced. Nevertheless, medical workers will mostly keep their jobs, taking into account ethics issues and communicative skills that machines can’t perform. Education, agriculture and natural sciences will possibly be the least affected.
2. New Kinds of Jobs Will Appear
Artificial intelligence and robotics, like other new technologies, are not totally destructive for employment. It has happened multiple times throughout the history that innovations eliminated many jobs, but, at the same time, have forced the creation of the same number or even more new professions in return.
McKinsey& Company found that almost half of the tasks performed by people globally could theoretically be automated using modern technologies. Nevertheless, only 5% of all activities can be fully automated. In the remaining jobs, only one-third of activities can be performed purely by machines, while other tasks will still require human participation or supervision.
Thus, people will not lose their workplaces irrevocably. There will be new jobs, the so-called adjacencies, created where workers will perform new tasks. To make this possible, people will have to adapt to the changing reality, upgrading their skills and gaining additional knowledge. For humans, the work will become more creative, rather than technical.
What Can Be Done for Success?
To drive job creation during the process of ubiquitous AI adoption in the future, companies should start investing in training and educating of current employees right now. The society should also change the attitude toward artificial intelligence for robotics: it should be seen not for its disadvantages, but with the thought of added marketing value.
The workforce of the future will be a combination of humans and machines working together and complementing each other. Perhaps the only reason that may result in great job losses and unemployment is if there is a lack of qualified workers with AI-driven skills.
3. Spending on Artificial Intelligence in Robotics Will Rise Exponentially
The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts the increase in global spending on AI projects since more and more companies are launching solutions involving AI. By the end of 2018, total expenses on cognitive systems may reach $19.1 billion, an increase of 54.2% over the amount spent during the previous year. In 2021, the index will reach $52.2 billion, and the average annual growth rate is predicted to be 46.2%.
By 2019, about 40% of digital transformation projects implemented in organizations will use AI services, and by 2021, three-quarters of enterprise applications will have artificial intelligence algorithms.
According to analysts, the largest AI market will be the US, which will utilize three-quarters of the total expenses on cognitive systems and solutions at the end of 2018. Western Europe will come in second place.
Sectors that will spend most on AI-systems in 2018 are:
- Retail — $3.4 billion
- Banking — $3.3 billion
- Discrete manufacturing — $2 billion
- Healthcare — $1.7 billion
The automated use cases that will see the largest spending totals in 2018 are:
- Customer service agents
- Threat intelligence and prevention systems
- Sales process recommendation
- Preventive maintenance
- Diagnosis and treatment systems
- Fraud analysis and investigation
4. Creativity and the Ability to Learn Will be Crucial for Personal Success
The paradigm of working processes and employment for people will shift from routine repetitive tasks to creativity. The key skill that the worker of the future will require is the ability to learn and be open to innovations.
At the same time, not all displaced people will be able to retrain and acquire needed knowledge for new positions. This may become a big problem for society and governments.
|Read also: Implementing Artificial Intelligence in Your Enterprise|
5. Robots Will Become Our Everyday Assistants
According to Gartner, twenty-five percent of customer services and support will be managed by AI technologies, particularly chatbots, by 2020. In comparison, in 2017, chatbots accounted for less than 2% of online customer interactions.
This trend will concern not only businesses but also day-to-day personal tasks. Numerous personal assistants are already in existence, such as Siri and Alexa already help control devices in smart homes, and devices such as a robot vacuum cleaner that perform chores for people. The developers of such assistants will obviously not stop, as the consumer demand is growing.
In the coming years, cognitive technologies will be widely used to look after our well-being and health conditions. For instance, we may see more robots that will assist people with disabilities and illnesses, or companionship robots such as Rudy to provide care and protection for the elderly.
We are witnessing very exciting changes and innovations in the world of technology. In the short-run, we may underestimate the consequences of the disruption, but the truth is that we should start preparing for them now.
SaM Solutions offers you our services in the area of AI-based solutions and other software development. Our latest project involves building a predictive maintenance system for a motor on a Toradex board. You can watch a webinar on the topic or contact our specialists to learn more.