I don’t normally write stories about stuff like this, but it’s becoming strangely apparent that artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, and how it affects the human worker needs to be addressed; we need to talk about it.
I’ve been seeing a lot of stories about robotics, artificial intelligence and automation in general. The combination of those three factors are very strong indications that the human worker is not going to be able to contribute to the manufacturing world of the future.
Manufacturers need to be able to produce their products on a mass scale and be able to do it consist; human workers cannot compete on that level. Human workers get sick, they take vacation and their production levels very from person to person. In addition to those human variables, you have to worry about complexities of human beings is simply working together and having a coherent and productive environment for them to work in; for them just to be happy. You also have to take into effect that human beings from time to time want to take vacation or may need to take maternity leave; these are things that robotics and automation don’t need. By injecting robotics and automation into a manufacturing environment, the simple truth is production goes up consistency is maintained and the quality of the products is consistent.
Artificial intelligence is something that we are wrestling with every day. We are now using artificial intelligence in a variety of ways; from auto parking cars to being able to do Google random searches and have the search engine understand what you’re looking for. Simply working on artificial intelligence is detrimental to the future human worker.
For instance, take Google; Google has been working on improving their voice recognition abilities over the past couple of years and it has become extremely accurate. There voice recognition works in quiet spaces and noisy once. Their speech recognition is able to accurately transcribe videos in real time; producing close captioning dynamically. If you take the ability of Google’s voice recognition, and convert that into text and then use that text to submit it to the artificial intelligence they can understand what you just said and in the context from which it was used you have a very powerful tool.
Once artificial intelligence is able to discern what a human being says and then is able to act upon what’s being requested, automation can be applied to the backend of that request.
Just as a quick example, if you walk into a McDonald’s and there’s a device there that has the ability to recognize what you say, that device can take your order effectively and accurately. The person giving the order or making the request doesn’t have to deal with a human worker who’s having a bad day or has a bad attitude or simply isn’t treating the patron the way they think they need to be treated. Computers and technology do not have the problems of dealing with frustration, anxiety, personal problems or medical issues; they simply work.
So once that information has been taken, it can be translated into an automated process that produces hamburgers and French fries automatically. Once those backend processes have been established to create the respective products; whether it be hamburgers, hot dogs, burritos, etc.
Looking forward, the problem that future families/generations are going to be looking at is what can they do as a human being that can produce a living wage that hasn’t already been automated or that artificial intelligence hasn’t already dominated.
Right now, in United States, a lot of people are blaming the loss of manufacturing jobs on low wage earning countries, but the real problem is the outsourced automation/production of those products. Yes; there are people in other countries making much less money assembling products, but once automation can be applied to those factories, those human workers (already making low wages) will be replaced.
Now imagine that the year is 2110 and artificial intelligence, automation and robotics are at their height; they can do virtually everything. They handle everything from car repairs, tech support, travel plans, accounting, legal issues, etc. the question becomes what can a human being do to earn a living wage?
The honest answer is nothing. Once a child is born, it’s going to have to be trained on how to write code, pair robots or learn to develop even more intricate artificial intelligence routines. But even so, those jobs will become limited. And just to get those jobs those individuals will have to be highly trained.
So the next question becomes how old is a person going to have to be to have that kind of training and to do those kinds of jobs, and in the meantime, what are they doing to support themselves?
As we look forward to the future, or what it could be, you have to start thinking about how you’re going to support those people, how you’re going to train them. It’s a very big question and it’s very important.
The human brain is very capable of doing things and imagining things that computers and artificial intelligence can’t, but human beings cannot compete with computers, artificial intelligence and robotics on a consistent basis. Human beings can’t calculate numbers like computers can. Human beings can’t lift things that robots can and they can’t be as precise/fast either. With the use of artificial intelligence, when people ask questions, they’ll be guaranteed almost the same exact answer every single time, in addition to artificial intelligence being able to reference multiple databases, knowledge bases in the world’s most recent information in a split second; something a human being could never do.
Right now, it looks like a gray future for the human worker, but right now we can take a little solace in knowing that a human being is the only one that can use their imagination to do great things.