Will the Dominance of Robots Increase Unemployment?
Robots have been present and operating for a while now, however, it seems they are going to dominate our daily lives from now on going into the future. Artificial Intelligence is now focused on developing more robots that have human features, qualities, senses, and can work together with humans, these robots are referred to as cobots (collaborative robots). The scary part, is the extent to which the dominance of robots will affect employment, especially in developing countries like South Africa.
Can robots replace human beings in the workplace
Based on various research completed and robots already operating, there is nothing a robot cannot do. Robots can do everything, from taking care of elderly people by reminding them to take their medicine on time, to teaching children Mathematics and Science, to driving a car without any human assistance. However, how many people are comfortable with depending on a robot for emotional and personal care? For instance, how many parents would be willing to leave their children (of all ages, including babies and toddlers) in the care of a robot? The advantages of robots include increased productivity and competency. One of the most common challenges employers face, is having to deal with incompetent employees, who are lazy and unwilling to work extra hours. There is no doubt that business owners and employers will support initiatives aimed at robotics technology. The disadvantages of robots certainly include safety risks and increased unemployment.
Will the elite support robot dominance?
The elite will most certainly support the dominance of robots, even when they are fully aware that it is going to further negatively affect the lives of ordinary citizens. What the political elite will most possibly do, is convince the public in any way possible that robots will bring positive change. However, what they most definitely will not share with the public, is how beneficial the dominance of robots will be to the elite and how this is going to increase unemployment. The public will most probably be told that even though current jobs will be lost, new jobs will be created. So what are these new that are going to be created, are we all going to work for the Robotics Industry?Research completed suggests that by 2030, 800 million jobs will be lost, and by 2022, 88 million jobs will be created. The number of cobots to be traded globally is estimated to be worth $9.05 billion, with a compound annual growth of 6.2%. Industrial robots , on other hand, are estimated to be worth $33 billion over the next 10 years, with an annual growth of 11.8%.
Should robots dominate our daily lives, the rich will definitely become richer while the poor become poorer. The media will be used to shift the mindset of citizens into believing that robots will present a world of new possibilities.
Kgalema Motlanthe, the former president of South Africa launched a youth programme in Nasrec. The programme is allegedly aimed at providing opportunities for the youth to acquire technological skills; the former president encouraged the youth to strive towards acquiring academic qualifications in digital technology. The initiative will allegedly be operating in partnership with the Gauteng government and Motlanthe's Foundation. So, who is going to benefit more from the initiative, the youth or the leaders of the initiative?
Another concern is, what exactly is going to happen to the youth after they have acquired skills and academic qualifications in digital technology? There are millions of South Africans sitting at home unemployed with undergraduate and post graduate qualifications. South Africans, more particularly the youth, have been made to believe that studying is the best thing they can ever do for themselves. However, the political elite have failed dismally to prioritize the creation of jobs. The fourth industrial revolution is no different, things are about to get from bad to worse.
Another question posed towards the leaders of Artificial Intelligence in South Africa, is South Africa going to develop and operate its own robots or are they going to be imported? We all know the answer to that one. The political elite need to start being more transparent with the public, minimize using the youth and uneducated communities in their unethical endeavors of using public funds for personal interests.
What are your thoughts on this?
© 2019 Grace