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Will robots replace your job?

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Due to the advancements of technology, certain jobs and careers will always need to be done by a human being but for others, it could only be a matter of time before artificial intelligence or robots fill in. The recent technological advancements of robotic engineering have the potential to change the world of employment as we know it.

Top UK university vice chancellor; Sir Anthony Seldon made the rather controversial claim that robots will replace teachers in 10 years time, revolutionising the teaching system. During the British Science Festival last year in Brighton, Sir Anthony discussed this future of teaching, “everyone can have the very best teacher and it's completely personalised; the software you're working with will be with you throughout your education journey”.  According to Seldon Robotics are beyond anything that we've seen in the industrial revolution or since with any other new technology. With robots being adaptive machines that adapt to individuals, they will listen to the voices of the learners, read their faces and study them in the way gifted teachers study their students.  

Perhaps Sir Anthony Seldon’s predictions are not too far off. One of New Zealand’s top current affairs programmes Seven Sharp, recently ran a story about Westport North School testing robotic teachers within their learning environments. The robot used was a type of ‘humanoid’ with it’s own name; Irobi.  

Humanoid robots are built to resemble a human body and although they are a smaller category of robots used in the market, they have the potential to be the top business tool of the future. A complex series of sensors make up the inner workings of humanoids. The first kind are the proprioceptive sensors that figure out the internal state. This includes the positioning, the speed and orientation/movement of the humanoid’s form.  Exteroceptive sensors sense more of the external state such surrounding environment and objects. Humanoids are also commonly build with vision, sound and tactile sensors to ideally replicate a human.  Along with all it’s complex sensors, control and movement planning algorithms are essential to the make up of a humanoid robot.

For Westport North School in New Zealand, irobi was made as more of a companion type robot. Overall the children responded well with every child completely fascinated by their new classroom addition. Unlike a computer or iPad, the children could interact with irobi because it’s state of the art speech recognition features. From their trial, Westport North school saw the robot being in more of a support teacher-aid position rather than replacing teachers teachers wholly.

It’s not just the Education sector. Finance is an industry with perhaps one of the highest risks of automation. Banks are quickly adopting new AI (Artifcial Intelligence) tools as well as finance companies worldwide.  Bridgewater associates, the largest hedge funding company in the world announced it was cutting jobs and replacing managers  with artificial intelligence to benefit decision making and save time. JP Morgan also followed suit in 2017 and introduced a state of the art robot to execute trades and agreements across its global equities business.

With the direction in which today’s technology is headed, it seems that robots, automation and forms of artificial intelligence could surpass humans in their ability to cover certain job skills. Robots and automation will have different affects across the various job industries, while redesigning traditional careers.

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