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By Yasmin Chamchoun

The World Robotics Report released by The International Federation of Robotics in October 2018 revealed that the worldwide sales of robots in the workplace has rocketed in recent years. In 2017, there was $6.6 billion in sales volume in the service robot sector, a sharp increase of 39% from the previous year. The logistics sector was the largest, accounting for 63% of the total units and 36% of total sales.

In terms of industrial robots, 381,000 units were sold in 2017. Now jumping to 2021, the IFR predicted that due to emerging technologies and recent developments such as “vision recognition, skill learning, failure prediction, human-machine collaboration, and easier programming” the sales of industrial robot units by the end of the year will have almost doubled to 630,000.

Source: IFR

Some of the jobs that are likely to become automated or allocated to robots include factory work, telemarketing, cashiers, accountants and various other facility roles.

One of the main concerns regarding robots is once they’re allocated jobs, where that will leave the human workers and whether then people will struggle to find other jobs?

Another concern is whether robots will pose any threat to humans and whether there should be a set of standard rules that they need to comply by when they are being built and programmed?

According to Isaac Asimov robots should act on three basic principles:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

A recent Linkedin poll posted by Dr. Stylianos Kampakis a data scientist and expert in AI and Machine Learning revealed that the majority (70%) believed robots pose no threat to our society or jobs (see below).

Two experts with an extensive background in the robotics field share their views:

Hassan Shehawy, Robotics Engineer, Research Doctorate in Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering at Politecnico di Milano.


 

  1. Should we be worried about robots integrating into society and taking our jobs?

“While I do understand the concerns regarding robots taking jobs away, I believe robots are making our lives way better. I’ve worked in 3 different areas of robotics including autonomous navigation, prosthetics and industrial robotics and I can see how they are making a positive impact by being integrated into society. If you read the testimonials from hand amputees who used prosthetic arms and how it changed their lives, you can see that kind of impact. The fear and concern is understandable, but the better quality of life we get by having robots into our lives is undeniable. For example, tedious and physically demanding work can be done by robots which reduces the risk of human injuries and pains. With self-driving cars, the hassle of driving is something from the past.

Yes, some people will lose their jobs and machines will replace millions of workers around the globe. But this needs to be addressed at different levels. Government policies should be adapted to take care of unemployed people, retrain them and equip them with necessary skills. Education systems have to prepare the next generations for the change.” 

  1. Should there be a set of rules for programmers and engineers to follow when they build and program robots? If so what rules?

“Well, this might sound funny, but I think Asimov laws say it all! I believe safety is the major criterion we should always consider when designing, building or programming robots. And beside any legal rules that might be in place, there should be ethical ones. For example the deliberate harming of humans by robots should be absolutely not allowed. Meanwhile, given the growing use of AI in robotics, some aspects need to be considered like the protection of human’s privacy and the ability to communicate with a human being when needed.”

Riccardo Ertolupi, Software and Firmware Engineer and Twice Italian Champion of Robotics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Should we be worried about robots integrating into society and taking our jobs?

“Yes, this is an actual risk. The market will require people with higher education but, even if we think this can produce new job opportunities, in the end this will mean higher unemployment in my opinion.”

  1. Should there be a set of rules for programmers and engineers to follow when they build and program robots? If so what rules?

“No rules for engineers, because the market is open. It is up to the governments to help those unemployed people in some ways. I don’t think it is a good idea to stop the “evolution” of the science because this evolution could also bring us solutions to the main problems of the world.”

If you have an interest in robots and automation check out the videos below:

  1. Using AI, agricultural robots are on the rise
  2. The AI delusion, are machines better then humans?

Also, if you are interested in landing a job in data science, also make sure to watch the on-demand webinars

 


Wanna know more about data science? Besides my events, you should check out my webinars:
  1. If you want to learn data science: What it's like to be a data scientist and What’s the best way to become a data scientist
  2. If you are a CEO: The importance of data strategy