5 industries robots will transform forever


Gary Eastwood

February 2, 2017

This year is expected to be a great leap forward in automation and the development of artificial intelligence, as machine learning and neural networks mean that robots can learn and understand more than ever before. But with this rise in automation has come a fear that the robots will completely supplant humans in the workforce. A YouTube video called “Humans Need Not Apply” released in 2014 has argued that much of the human workforce could be supplanted by robots, and that robots could even take over creative jobs which was assumed could only be done by humans.

To some degree, these fears are overblown. The more likely scenario is that humans and AI will work together, covering for each other’s strength and weaknesses and improving the economy. But some jobs will be destroyed or changed, just like they were during the Industrial Revolution.

Here are just a few industries which could be changed with the rise in AI, and how human work could be adapted or changed in this new, robotic future.

1. Teaching

One of the challenges which any teacher faces is orientating their lessons to the classes. No matter how many they are teaching, there will be slower children who do not understand the material and smarter children who are bored and want to move on to the next thing.

With AI, it is possible to personalize a child’s education like never before with a concept called adaptive learning. Adaptive learning programs like ALEKS can essentially be a private tutor for every child, going over their individual mistakes and moving them along at their own pace.

This does not mean that the teacher will become obsolete, and no AI can ever inspire students into a career path like an excellent teacher can. But the role of the teacher will transition to that of a caretaker and supervisor as opposed to someone who actually teaches, making their jobs easier than before.

2. Human Resources

The numerous guides on the Internet for how to get your resume past the robots who initially scan it is an implicit admission of how AI already plays a crucial role in human resources. But AI could be more proactive than that. It could scan applicants’ public social media accounts to look for crude or disqualifying posts and find blog posts written by them. And just like we ask questions to smart assistants like Amazon Alexa in our everyday lives, workers could ask a human resources AI questions about company benefits or workplace issues.

3. Lawyers

Think about how lawyers have to spend years memorizing court cases, precedents, and countless other things in order to do their jobs. If there is one thing which robots do far better than humans, it is storing and being able to pull up huge amounts of data.

That is the idea behind ROSS, an artificial intelligence which is related to the famous Watson AI that triumphed over humans in Jeopardy. Furthermore, ROSS can keep up to date with all the court cases which are happening around the world and adjust its parameters accordingly.

This is beneficial for those lawyers who survive, as it means that they will not have to waste so much time compiling rote research. But if lawyers no longer need to spend so much time memorizing stuff, that could drastically upend their training and change how our entire legal system works.

4. Journalism

As we read the news on our tablets or mobile devices, we already know how the Internet has changed the face of journalism. But the day could come when we see computers write the articles themselves, putting writers and reporters like me out of work.

Artificial developers like Narrative Science have already created programs which can write your typical sports recap or put in raw numbers about how a company is doing, and this could theoretically free humans up for creative pieces or true investigative journalism. But that could still put large numbers of journalists out of work and threaten an already troubled industry.  

5. Driving

This is possibly the field where robots could most dramatically change how we work. As tech companies like Tesla and car companies like Toyota work on building self-driving cars, the White House estimated in December 2016 that 3.1 million driving jobs could be replaced by automation.

That would have a huge impact on the lower classes. Poorer and younger individuals could lose out on the chance to make some cash on the fly by delivering pizza or driving with Uber, and trucking has become a good job for those without an advanced education as manufacturing jobs continue to decline.

It should be noted that the road to a completely autonomous car may still be some time away, and a trucker may still sit behind the wheel and watch in case the AI makes a mistake. But what is clear is that self-driving cars will happen in the foreseeable future, and arguably represents the biggest change in human employment.


This article was written by Gary Eastwood from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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