Will Robots Make Our Jobs Obsolete?

By Catherine
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By Catherine Bolgar

Stock Market Robot Trading

Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are taking over jobs that are repetitive, predictable and sometimes dangerous for people to do. The impact of automation on society depends on how fast it occurs—and how quickly displaced workers transition to other forms of employment.

“What most people don’t realize is the labor market has always evolved over time. Recent advances in artificial intelligence have the potential to accelerate the rate of change,” says Jerry Kaplan, futurist and author of the book “Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

“There will be plenty of work,” he adds. “Many jobs cannot be automated with new technology. As we become wealthier, the demand for jobs increases as people spend more money.”

A 2013 study estimates that computerization puts 47% of total U.S. employment at risk. A survey by the World Economic Forum earlier this year estimates that automation will cause a net loss of more than five million jobs globally between 2015 and 2020, out of the 13.5 million the surveyed companies currently employ. A canvassing of experts by the Pew Research Center found that about 48% expect significant displacement of workers from automation by 2025, with the other 52% expecting that technology creates more jobs than it displaces.

“My view is that there is ultimately going to be less work,” says Martin Ford, futurist and author of the book “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future.”

A lot of jobs—maybe half the jobs out there—are doing things that are predictable,“ Ford adds. “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or even the skill level.”

A radiologist must go through years of extensive schooling, but mostly does routine work that increasingly is being aided by computers, he says. Software can generate news stories and can translate spoken language in real time.

Machines are taking on cognitive capability,” he says. “Machine learning can figure things out. It’s really disruptive. Especially deep learning. It’s just amazing.”

CyborgHowever, many of the jobs ripe for automation are low-skilled jobs, from driving to coffee-making to burger-flipping, Mr. Ford says, perhaps not entirely replacing them but greatly reducing their number.

“Technology will create jobs, but will the person driving a taxi be able to do that job? In many cases, the answer will be no,” he says.

Retraining programs and geographic mobility will be key to helping people whose work has become obsolete to change professions, Mr. Kaplan says, adding, “We need to align our social policies with the economic realities.”

These changes have happened before. Forty or 50 years ago, more than a million people, mostly women, worked as telephone operators; today, that occupation employs less than one-twentieth of that number. “Do we lament the loss of those jobs?” Mr. Kaplan asks.

New jobs will arise as we create new wants and needs that we can’t even imagine now, Mr. Kaplan says.

“Historically, average U.S. household income doubles every 40 years, but our desires and expectations for our standard of living rise at the same rate,” he says. “If you wanted to live like somebody in 1900 you could probably be fine working 15 hours a week. Today most people would like to have a TV and indoor plumbing, so we work longer and harder to increase our standard of living. It’s more about our expectations and desires than some hard-and-fast rule of economics.”

Robot human hand connectionThe World Economic Forum’s survey of employers found the greatest expectation for demand in computer and mathematical jobs, with a 3.21% compound annual growth rate from 2015 to 2020, followed by architecture and engineering, with 2.71% expected growth. Office and administrative jobs, however, are expected to contract 4.91%, worse than the 1.63% decline in manufacturing and production employment, among respondents. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looks by country at the percentage of jobs with high potential for automation or significant change in tasks.

Automation is here to stay. “It’s integral to capitalism,” Mr. Ford says. “There’s this huge incentive to become more efficient. If your competitors do it, you do the same thing or you’re quickly going to be irrelevant. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the biggest things happening right now, and pretty soon all companies will have to incorporate them.”

 

Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, now working as a freelance writer and editor with WSJ. Custom Studios in EMEA. For more from Catherine Bolgar, along with other industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.

Photos courtesy of iStock

XtreeE unveils Europe’s first 3D-printed Pavilion at 3DS Paris Campus: Recap of the inauguration

By Fred
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The inauguration of the 3D-printed Pavilion took place at the 3DS Paris Campus, on September 20, 2016, key persons were involved in this significant collaborative project using digital technology & additive construction methods that transform the design and building processes in the construction industry.

A first in Europe inspired by shapes found in nature that demonstrates the future of sustainable architecture. It showcases 4 main innovations in design (bio-mimicry), simulation (topology optimization), materials and constructions (robot manufacturing) that could transform the future of architecture and building construction. The digital continuity is key and is provided through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

If you miss the event, watch the video replay of the 3D-printed Pavilion grand opening by officials.

The inauguration created a strong activity on social networks, follow the story hereafter…

A disruptive innovative project led by the French startup XtreeE with the support of ABB, LafargeHolcim and the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab of Dassault Systèmes. Discover the related article: Applauding XtreeE in Leading 3D Printing Revolution.

The ambition of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab is really to help bring disruptive innovation, with an open innovation approach, coaching and mentoring start-ups. To know more about our role of incubator, read the 2015 3DEXPERIENCE Lab launch recap. You can also visit our dedicated website.

Robotics is MEGA-Trending

By Tony
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Robotics Mega TrendingAll around the world there is a huge interest in robotics. Schools everywhere and at every level are involved in some type of robotics competition. Some compete in Lego challenges, some compete in government or corporate-sponsored competitions, while others create and host their own challenges. Before I entered college, my father was concerned that the education I chose needed to be sustainable. He studied electronics and had a very successful career in computers. He always said to me, “Computers are the future, you best be prepared for the wave of computers.” I did take his advice, although not in the traditional sense as I decided to study robotics. Fast forward to today when robotics is a hot topic across the globe, from the classroom to the boardroom. Companies and students everywhere are realizing the power of automation and the value that it brings at so many levels. And their timing could not be more impeccable; robotics is definitely mega-trending.

Robotics and Automation Make Economic Sense

The off-shoring of factories and suppler bases due to low-wage competition are on a heavy decline. In an effort to localize supply chains, manufacturers are turning to robotics and implementing automated robotic systems on-site to achieve flexible, smart systems that extend across their enterprise to meet the global demands of their customers and markets. The latest trends in manufacturing are forcing companies to focus on technology. This focus is necessary to remain competitive. This is a global trend, so getting left behind is not an option. Today’s technologies are making manufacturing more fast paced than ever, and this is evident in the staggering wave of robotics coming on-shore.

Robots sharply improve quality as well as productivity to the point where they offset regional differences in labor costs and availability. In today’s economic climate, they have a major impact on the competitiveness of companies and countries alike. This means countries with greater robotic infrastructure (robots and supporting professionals) could become more attractive to manufacturers than countries with cheap labor. These types of changes will drive the competitive dynamics of the global economy.

The Wave of Robotics Adoption

According to the Boston Consulting Group, “The size of this coming wave of robotics is staggering: spending on robots worldwide is expected to jump from just over $15 billion in 2010 to about $67 billion by 2025. Driving this growth is a convergence of falling prices and performance improvements. The cost of high-quality robots and components is dropping rapidly, while CPUs are getting faster, and application programming is getting easier. As robots become cheaper, smaller, and more energy efficient, they gain flexibility and finesse, increasing the breadth of potential applications.” Let’s put these figures in perspective. According to this report, the estimated growth of the robotics market is going to more than double in the next 10 years (From an estimated $26.9B in 2015 to $66.9B in 2025). This puts the adoption rate of robots in the stratosphere.

This wave of robotics adoption is due to several factors, one of which is the pricing. The costs associated with implementing robots and automation have been on the decline. The reduced cost, along with the gains in production, makes for a very attractive proposition to companies of all sizes and industries.

Another key factor of this explosion in robotics is the robots ability to affect different industries. Technology is a key differentiator in all industries and robots have made profound impacts throughout. This contributes to the overall adoption rate across an industry. Adoption of robots within an industry creates a shift in power between competitors, where the leaders pull away and the competition either adopts similar strategies or their growth will stagnate, so the greater the impact, the wider the adoption.

Reasons for This Mega-Trend

Perhaps the most compelling reason for this mega-trend in robotics is the wide variety of applications that robots are being used in. Robots are used in everything from industrial and military applications to handling nuclear fuels to removing dangerous land mines, and filling customer orders. The robots of today are exploring the ocean floor, cleaning your house, and even cutting the grass outside. Robots are irreplaceable when it comes to delicate surgeries and help with the rehabilitation of the patient afterwards. Robots deliver medication, and can be a comforting companion. They can drive cars, fly airplanes, and work a 24 hour shift building cars without a break. Robots can perform many tasks that humans do, at a fraction of the cost, often with more accuracy.

The possibilities for these mega-trends are endless. Emerging applications will further grow the robotics market.  Newer industries such as mining and warehousing will be key robotics markets, as well as the personal service domain, where robots will take the roles of housekeeper, security guard, and personal valet. Agriculture and food processing robots are being created to reduce the cost of farming and deliver the freshest product at the lowest cost. Even the automobile will play a major role in the robotics market. Cars that can drive themselves are currently being tested, but driving the car is only the start. Today the car has a key role in households across the globe, and driving people to their destination is only one single aspect of our lives that a robot car can assist us with.

To see how companies are keeping up with technology and trends in robotics, visit our community at:

https://swym.3ds.com/#community:179

To see the report The Rise of Robotics by the Boston Consulting Group, visit:

https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/business_unit_strategy_innovation_rise_of_robotics/



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