The technological revolution caused by computing and mobile devices has been rapidly transforming our lives. These changes pale in comparison however to what is still to come, especially in terms of the impact of robotics. In the coming decades increasing automation will replace millions, if not billions of human jobs, with those manned by robotic workers.
While might people might think that they are safe in their ‘skilled’ professions, a new mini-documentary titled “Humans Need Not Apply, created by C.G.P. Grey is quite an eye-opener. The film presents a somewhat terrifying view of a future where general purpose robots have not just replaced the jobs which involved low-skilled ‘manual’ labour, but where robotic brains have replaced humans in all but them most specialized of professions.
The film seeks to challenge several major misconceptions which people have when it comes to the increase in robot workers. This first of these is that robots will only replace labour-intensive jobs, leaving specialised and creative jobs untouched. ‘Humans Need Not Apply’ shows that these is in fact not true, and that in many cases, robotic brains (better known as software bots) are rapidly replacing human labor.
The most popular professions are the ones most at risk from being taken over by robots.
In addition, the film seeks to challenge the idea that as robots take old jobs, new jobs we can’t even conceive right now will be dreamt up, and humans will fill these roles instead. To prove this wrong, the film shows that over the course of the last hundred years, very few new professions have been created that actually employ any significant proportion of the population. Indeed the most popular professions are in actual fact the ones most at risk from being taken over by robots.
To illustrate its point that this change is already imminent, the documentary brings up numerous real life examples of robotic tech already in development. These include Google’s self-driving cars obsoleting the massive transport industry, and IBM’s Watson AI working as a medical assistant.
While this is all very concerning, the film’s purpose is not to alarm, but rather to stimulate discussion on how society will have to change in order to accommodate this new industrial revolution. In the end, we can’t really blame the robots, when it’s humans making the decisions about how they are used…
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