There are all kinds of statistics about the imminent robot takeover of your job. One figure, cited by McKinsey, states that 51% of jobs in the United States entail predictable activities in structured environments, which are the easiest to replicate with robots. This sparked the launch of a wave of job takeover prediction tools. Just Google “robots will take over your job” and you will find several websites that have calculators which can predict how safe your job is. Just for fun, I tried two of them. The first one was published by Time Magazine with McKinsey & Company as the source. I entered “Computer Programmers” as the occupation. It stated that 38% of this job can be done by robots and that this job is safer than 52.4% of jobs. Not too bad. Next, I tried one at random from https://willrobotstakemyjob.com, using the same job description. This site stated a 48% probability of a robot takeover, with a note that read “Start worrying.” Which one is correct? Perhaps I should go and ask a fortune teller! How about the job of a police officer? How safe is that from a robot takeover?
You’ve all seen the movie, now it’s a reality. According to an article published by Reuters on 01 June 2017, the city of Dubai recently deployed a robotic police officer. According to Newsweek, this Robocop was designed with the help from Google and IBM Watson. The robot stands about as tall as a person, can salute and shake hands, and has a touch screen on its chest so that people can report crimes and pay their traffic tickets. Instead of feet, it gets around on what looks like a two-wheeled Segway scooter. Its “eyes” are cameras that have facial-recognition technology, and it can scan license plates as well. Forget about wearing disguises. If you’re wanted for committing a crime, you’re toast! Here is what a police chase might look like:
Robocop 1 is patrolling the area when suddenly, an alarm goes off. A nearby bank has just been robbed! As Robocop arrives at the bank, the doors burst open and a masked individual runs out, holding a gun in one hand and a large sack in the other. Robocop scans the masked man, and using face-recognition technology obtains his identity, and discovers that he is wanted for armed robbery in five different states, and murder in seven states. This is not a one-time opportunistic thief. This is a career criminal who has killed people and will most likely not hesitate to do so again. As the only police officer in the area, Robocop takes off after the fleeing bandit. Robocop informs the police chief of the situation via SMS text message. The following is the human-to-machine communication:
Robocop: Chief, Robocop 1 reporting that United Emirates Bank at JAFZA gate 5 has just been robbed.
Chief: Has anyone been hurt?
Robocop: Negative. In pursuit of a single male suspect fleeing by foot. Sending GPS coordinates.
Chief: Backup will arrive at your location in 15 minutes. Keep things under control and don’t text and drive!
Robocop: Sir, I’m an artificially intelligent being. I text inherently.
Chief: Patch me through to your video feed.
Robocop: Here is a link to my feed: <http://robofeed27866432.pd.db.uae>
As Robocop closes in on the suspect, it’s surprised when he suddenly jumps into a nearby idling vehicle and speeds away. The suspect looks back and laughs, thinking he got away.
Robocop quickly scans in the vehicle’s license plate and texts it to HQ.
Robocop: Chief, the suspect is now fleeing by vehicle license plate 59599. Deploying drone 1 for pursuit. Video feed can be accessed here: <http://drone1feed2488932.pd.db.uae>
The drone easily catches up to the vehicle, drops a Stop Stick, and forces it to pull over. With a drone hovering inches from the windshield, the suspect surrenders to the squad of police officers who just arrived onsite, thanks to the drone’s GPS transponder. Robocop 1 has certainly proven itself to be a valuable member of the Dubai police force. What’s interesting to see is that because robots are taking away jobs from humans, there are certain places that want robots to pay taxes! South Korea just announced that they are implementing a “robot tax” (reduction in tax credits), and Bill Gates is recorded as saying that robots should be taxed for income at a similar rate as humans!
In conclusion, while we shouldn’t be concerned about a robot apocalypse, robots taking over jobs in the form of automation is very real, and here to stay. Having said that, while robots are taking over some jobs, they are also creating an entirely new industry which will add a whole new supply of jobs to the economy.
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