HOUSTON — Warning! Warning! Warning! Robots are taking over the world- well, the working world that is.
In a new report from Forrester Research, scientists predict that by 2021, machines will take away 6 percent of all jobs in the U.S., which is nearly 9 million people.
“Let’s Face it- Robotics is going to be the defining technology of this generation. Just like aviation, or the internet or telecom of the past century; its going to be one of the bedrock, pivotal technologies of the next 100 years,” said Nicolaus Radford, the Co-Founder and CTO of Houston Mechatronics.
The first to go will be in the service industry – you may have noticed automated touch screens replacing bank tellers and fast food workers, and self-driving taxis.
According to the report, even more jobs will be replaced by intelligent agents, which are basically smarter versions of SIRI that will be able recognize and predict human behavior, solve problems, and interact effectively in a complicated world.
“These technologies are exponentiating, and so the sky is the limit on their use cases,” Radford said. “The improvements that they’re going to make in our businesses, the quality improvements, the cost reductions. Basically, the overall global gains that we’re going to get from robotic technology are just tremendous.”
The report notes that five years from now may be the technological tipping point, where more jobs are replaced by robots than created, and many of the workers who lose their jobs won’t have the skills required to train for a new career path.
But living with these alleged robot overlords might not be so bad.
“I think that they’ll be a transitional point where people are retrained to perform in jobs with higher cognition and as those robotic assets are deployed, they’re going to need infrastructure. They’re going to need service technicians. They’re going to need jobs that, in my opinion, will be net positive in the long term,” Radford said.
So while it’s uncertain if 2021 will become the new 1984. One thing is for sure, the Sci-Fi future we used to dream about is much closer than we think.