Imagine waiting in line at the grocery store with a basket full of ingredients for tonight’s dinner. You’re in a rush. Ahead of you are several cent-counting seniors ready with coupons and flyers to negotiate a better deal. To your right is the self-checkout. Quick,
But it may cost somebody their job.
The possibilities of robots taking our jobs has been covered before. Automation replacing roles designed for humans has been happening for decades. Yet only one job has truly disappeared in this evolution: the elevator operator. Machines are present in many industries like food services, manufacturing, transportation, retail, and more. The fear of the rise of machines has mostly subsided (sorry, Terminator movies franchise). We live in a world where machines are tools that expedite our work without leaving us obsolete.
Should we still fear technology? What steps are we taking to protect ourselves? What is it about Artificial Intelligence (AI) that has Elon Musk on edge?
Take our jobs, just don’t kill us!
I might have joked about the Terminator too soon. Some of the world’s leading minds in robotics, including Musk, are pleading with the United Nations to ban the development and use of “killer robots”. They argue that this advancement of technology on the battlefield will bring about the “third revolution in warfare”. Disconcerting when you consider that revolutions one and two were gunpowder and nuclear arms, respectively.
Consider how robots have revolutionized the workplace; now think what they could potentially bring to war. Combat drones are one of the most recent additions, but these problems could grow exponentially in the years to come if left unchecked.
Hitchbot, a drifter’s life remembered
Hitchbot led a storied life. Part robot sidekick, part social experiment, it had one purpose: to hitchhike around the world. It made it through parts of Canada and Europe unscathed, depending on the kindness of drivers. Until it reached America where Hitchbot was found dismembered in Philadelphia, vandalized beyond repair.
We’re used to seeing robots assemble cars, throw pitches or appear on BattleBots. Anything out of the ordinary and it’s difficult to tell how people will react to it. But lashing out at technology and development (like poor, doomed Hitchbot) will accomplish nothing. Instead, premeditative measures can help make the transition go smoother for many people.
Despite not yet taking over jobs completely, many predict the future loss of jobs due to automation. There might be a solution to this future problem in plain view. According to Quartz, “companies will profit significantly from workforce automation, so the private sector will be able to afford shouldering this burden, while at the same time still making greater profits.” McDonald’s is an example of a company giving way to automation to replace employees with automated kiosks. Yet they can easily provide Universal Basic Income for employees who get replaced.
The technology that will pay you
We’ve discussed robots and AI destined to take our jobs. How about the technology meant to create jobs? Surkus is an app that falls somewhere between a dating app and human resources. Signing up for this app invites you to exclusive events and parties in your city. Not just that, but you get paid to be there. Surkus replaces promoters, marketers and PR agencies by directly connecting a company or event with their client base. For the client, it’s a matter of signing up and receiving alerts for future (paid) events.
If you’re the one who’s dismembering innocent hitchhiking robots, please stop. This is not HBO’s Westworld that promotes humans taking out their violent aggression on cowboy robots. And it’s not Hitchbot’s fault that companies are moving towards automation. Keep in mind that there are solutions. We wouldn’t want the machines to hold a grudge against us. At least not until the United Nations makes a decision on these “killer robots”.
Alex Correa | The Edge Blog