Robots now administer sedatives, deliver towels to hotel rooms, and algorithms write breaking news articles. So why do companies need people?
While people have feared automation because it would affect jobs, this time it just might be true, according to the New York Times. Artificial intelligence has made huge leaps and bounds, while worker skills seem to be stagnating, leading many to believe that robots will be taking jobs from people in knowledge, service, factory and clerical work. From the article:
And over the same 15-year period that digital technology has inserted itself into nearly every aspect of life, the job market has fallen into a long malaise. Even with the economy’s recent improvement, the share of working-age adults who are working is substantially lower than a decade ago — and lower than any point in the 1990s.
Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at M.I.T., told the Times, “This is the biggest challenge of our society for the next decade.”
While many say that as some jobs become obsolete, others will take their place -- and productive workers will always be in demand. But this seems to be a bit more serious than that. The AI has made inroads in to sales and telemarketing, the jobs most likely to be affected. Some computers can differentiate expressions for pain and depression and be used to screen patients.
The robots will only make company profits grow and contribute to more unemployment as long as they don't need constant repair. Corporations will likely save a bundle on healthcare, insurance and human resources if they just turn to more automation.