Do robots take our jobs, or do they do it for us?


The Chinese government has proclaimed AI and robot development to be a national priority. Initial accomplishments have already been achieved, such as in autonomous driving. Like those in the Middle Kingdom, all employees wonder aloud if robots and artificial intelligence will eliminate their jobs. Experts and studies vary on whether new technologies destroy jobs or create new ones, and so on.

At least according to the Chinese government, robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are panaceas: on the one hand, they make the economy more efficient and sustainable. Both technologies, on the other hand, aid in the maintenance of the authoritarian political system. Xi Jinping, China’s president and leader of the Communist Party, declared in 2017 that his country would become an AI superpower.

The Middle Kingdom has a substantial head start over the United States and, in particular, Europe: privacy protection is not as strong in China. Regulations like the EU’s Basic Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO), which went into effect in May 2018, would be inconceivable in the country. Meanwhile, the government intends to install facial recognition cameras in all critical areas by 2020. These will be crucial in China’s planned implementation of the social credit system in 2020. This system keeps track of citizens’ actions and rewards them with points. Poorly ranked people are denied access to services such as air travel, loans, and even reputable schools for their children. According to a poll, most people favor the social credit system and comprehensive surveillance.

Data power artificial intelligence.

Background: The road to self-driving cars is divided into five stages: The system can handle all driving responsibilities independently at level four. As a result, industry, and politics have access to massive volumes of data. These are the gasoline that will propel artificial intelligence forward. China is already a trailblazer in several areas: “The Chinese will rely on the rest of the globe to drive autonomously,” German economist Ferdinand Dudenh√∂ffer told the German Press Agency in April 2018. He was correct. The world’s first autonomous Level 4 minibus is making its rounds in Beijing. China appears to be on the verge of developing a self-driving car. Of course, automobiles aren’t the only application of AI and robotics that has drawn international attention to China.

The official Chinese news service Xinhua, for example, utilizes two avatars to convey news in various languages. Sogou, a Chinese search engine operator, developed a system that employs AI and Machine Learning to make voice, gestures, facial emotions, and lip movements appear as natural as possible.

According to studies, robots obliterate 50% of all occupations.

Will a robot replace my job soon? This is an uncomfortable question that worries not only Chinese workers but all workers throughout the world. Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborn, two Oxford scientists, wrote a 72-page theses paper on the subject in 2013: 47 percent of Americans are at high risk of losing their jobs to a robot or algorithm. Even though the study’s methodology is dubious at best, the paper has made the rounds. Since this study, the robot has progressed to the point where it is now a devil that robs working people of their jobs and consequently their income. Many more investigations and forecasts were based on this premise. In 2018, the German IT group Bitkom issued a similarly alarming forecast: digitization would eliminate 3.4 million employment in Germany within five years. This equates to a little more than ten percent. This conclusion is based on a survey of 500 businesses from various industries.

Machines already do a lot of work and frequently fail.

When one considers whatever jobs AI and robots currently perform, the Oxford study and many other forecasts with similar outcomes may appear realistic – at least in theory. Both technologies are already in use in a variety of unexpected places:

Traffic surveillance in China detects offenses and sends a traffic ticket to the offender’s smartphone. Of course, the system isn’t without flaws. The system planned to penalize a driver who scratched his head for driving while using a cellphone without permission right away.

Deutsche Bahn tested a robot head called “SEMMI” at Berlin Central Station in June 2019. Its goal is to provide better customer service to travelers. However, as this video from the German Bild shows, he was not entirely convinced throughout the presentation.

Hotel Henn-Na made headlines in 2015 as the first robotic hotel in the world. There, dinosaur-themed machines were supposed to assist human workers. These, on the other hand, created more work than they saved. For example, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on a personal assistant who repeatedly questioned a guest in the middle of the night, “Excuse me, I didn’t understand that.” Is it possible for you to restate the question? The hotel guest’s heavy snoring sounds were misinterpreted by the robot as an inquiry. As a result, more than half of the 243 robots were sacked by the hotel administration.

Robots are bringing manufacturing jobs back to high-wage countries.

These and other flaws indicate that technology may not be as sophisticated as it should be for everyday use in many locations. Users and the media frequently have utterly erroneous assumptions regarding AI and related technologies. Michael Hofbauer, head of Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH in Graz, told the trade publication Factory, “Robots are underestimated in their ability.” He adds another point to the discussion: the deployment of robots allows manufacturing enterprises to remain in Austria or even relocate. After all, the cost of employing robots would be similar everywhere over the world.

Machines could free up time for individuals to do more innovative and demanding work.

It is not yet a foregone conclusion that robots and artificial intelligence will be the primary job killers. According to careful research and experts, intelligent machines create more jobs than they destroy. Robots assist human caretakers in various areas, such as the care of the sick and aged. Nurses have additional resources to care for patients since the machines act as playmates or execute easy or physically demanding chores. As a result, robots and AIs provide us with an opportunity to escape laborious, monotonous, and heavy work, allowing us to devote more time to complicated, creative, and pleasant activities.

Conclusion: Do robots truly take our jobs away from us, or do they simply do it for us?

In the past, technological advancement has always resulted in apprehension about the future of current jobs. This was largely untrue: Because new vocations have been established due to technological advances, society has never been without work. On the other hand, artificial intelligence and robots are a technology that thinks, acts, and feels like humans.

Perhaps this is why there is such apprehension about the job?

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