I read an interesting article from HBR titled “How We’ll Really Feel if Robots Take Our Jobs” (https://hbr.org/2015/01/how-well-really-feel-if-robots-take-our-jobs) on LinkedIn.
I left a comment to this post from HBR. I had to cut short my thoughts due to LinkedIn’s character restrictions for a comment (~680 characters). So I thought I will post the unabridged version here.
Well, think about it, we have started moving towards a machine driven world. It all starts with a humble automation job. Automation is where/when we let the software take decisions based on pre-defined criteria. And we humans love automation – its ease, speed, precision (quality) and zero-fatigue (automation software does not complain).
Automation is very pervasive. For example, I see that in something as simple as an automation testing job. Another more relevant example – in the making – is home automation. Your home automation software is already deciding when to switch your thermostat on/off. Its a matter of time before it controls your home security locks/system.
By the way, we are driving all the automation that is happening. Now why is it a problem if we start giving eyes, arms and limbs to it. In my opinion, there is not much difference in an automation software (that we like and is already pervasive) and a hardware (wrapped around the software).
A lot of the robots that we see are not that intelligent. They are still devices with pre-defined instructions on what to do. Of course, with Cloud computing, Faster chips and Internet Connectedness, they are bound to become more smarter with every iteration (software & hardware upgrades). So at least as of now, I do not see that very different from a software automation program.
In my opinion, it is inevitable that Robots will eventually play a role in our society. I would rather accept this fact and focus on what roles would humans play. Just like how the West was taking up more strategic jobs while outsourcing the mundane jobs to the east, I think we humans could take up much more better roles in the society. Also, who is going to maintain and monitor these huge armies of robots!