The Rise of the Robot Worker Is Imminent

Hang on to your hats — er, jobs: the robots are coming.

In two separate reports over the last two years, researchers predicted that the rise of the robot worker was imminent. In the UK, Deloitte and the University of Oxford predict that 10 million unskilled jobs could be taken over by robots. Last year, Oxford Research predicted that 45% of the U.S. jobs across a fairly wide spectrum of industries could be automated and taken over by computers by 2033.

The Mashable article goes into detail about nine different jobs that sophisticated machines are training to take over right now. “Training” btw is their word and I object to it. Robots don’t train, do they? Let’s not anthropomorphize the cyborgs any more than we already have to.

The list of nine jobs that could well be taken over in the near future by C3PO and the like might make you want to dive right back into bed. It includes, among other professions, teacher, nurse, actor, athlete, and concierge. OH NO ALL IS LOST. Except on closer inspection maybe not.

Like, okay, maybe a robot could function as a sales clerk — it could give you easy and comprehensive information about a store — but how on earth would a robot work as a nurse?

Being a nurse is hard work. Not only are you caring for multiple patients on a hospital floor, sometimes you have to move them, bed and all, from room to room. Now a robot hospital bed can, it seems, cut the number of human workers needed to move the bed by one. Abacus Global Technology unveiled the EPush bed earlier this year at Singapore’s Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. The bed not only has motors to assist in the move, but enough intelligence to maintain a safe speed and adjust if the terrain changes from, say, rug to tile.

So by “robot nurse” you mean “sophisticated hospital bed”? Those two terms are interchangeable? Seriously?

Good to know the profession of nurse is safe for now. What about actor? A.O. Scott wrote a paean to great movie kisses this weekend — do we need to worry that, going forward, audiences will be sitting in the dark, so perplexed that we forget to eat popcorn, as we watch Small Wonder and Johnny 5 get it on?*

It’s bad enough that most actors are up against dozens of others for a role. Now they have to compete with robots. This past October in Budapest, Hungary, a robot called REPLIEE S1 played the title role in an unusual staging of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. However, instead of Gregor turning into a bug, he awakes one morning to find himself a robot.

Uh. A robot played a ROBOT on stage? This is what you’re saying? I think Ryan Gosling doesn’t need to worry quite yet.

What else have you got, Mashable?

In Japan, Pepper, the robot that’s supposed to know how you feel, is gearing up to sell Nescafe coffee. It may be the rare barista not juiced up on caffeine.

Robot baristas?? Now they’ve gone too far.

*Eva and WALL-E did have an exceptionally cute kiss but the key word there is “exception.”

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