If your desk is your home, you might need an estate agent.
By Owen Mitchell
The news that the robot revolution is coming has circulated the internet, television and probably even your living room. Endless talk that in a few years the “invasion” will begin. Well they’re all wrong. In reality the invasion is over, now the robots will build a home for themselves. Not out of bricks and mortar. Out of string weaved with numbers reaching through the cracks in your wall, reaching deep into your privacy. They’ll tear apart your home door from door, window from window.
Humans do not belong between lines of code or stuck to a spider web of information. We will be expulsed by the machines to whom we gave life and strangely the creators are our only hope.
Think of them as translators. Hired so that us fleshy people can communicate with our steely colleagues. Or as time travellers looking into our future. If we are to put up a resolute last stand, then intel is our most powerful weapon. This isn’t a conventional war, your computer isn’t going to fight back and punching it will hurt you more than it, especially your pockets. The worst we could do now is worry and forget to learn about the scale of the threat we are facing.
So what is the threat? Well, in 2015 Oxford University predicted that 35% of UK jobs are at risk of being handed over to machines or software in only the next 20 years. Sadly, if you’re a telephone salesperson or the image of Excel Spreadsheet is burnt into your eyes, you will lose your job. What’s the difference between you and a recorded message or some sorting software? They complete the same task, faster and cheaper than you do.
It’s not all bad, how many times do you complain about your job being boring? “Monotonous” is a bad word for a reason. Don’t see it as a loss, see it as an opportunity to get more enjoyment out of your work life. View it this way and there is no threat. Just the promise of easier, more fulfilling lives.
The ultimate goal of automation is not to replace humans, it is to give us more time to focus on important things. Think about the good that an extra 8 hours/day spending time with family would benefit your relationship. Or how much more creative you could be without long hours at work stressing you out.
However, we still need jobs. Wouldn’t it be perfect if we could harness our new found creativity, while keeping job security? Well this is where the “translators” come in. One thing that isn’t close is artificial intelligence, circuit boards capable of creating their own code independent of humans. Therefore we will have to continue to innovate a long time after the process of automation is complete.
There is already a critical shortage of software developers, with the sector set to grow exponentially. Governments around the world have failed to pay the amount of attention that such a massive shift requires. It’s already too late, but programmes to encourage an education in coding from a young age are vital in securing our future. The shortage is a blessing in disguise for those in employment or looking. This is the perfect opportunity as software companies are desperate and will offer to train those with even trivial knowledge of coding or design.
Really anything in the creative sector would be a safe position, as the human brain is wired to make, create and innovate. A computer finds randomising a string of numbers difficult. Also, I’m fairly sure that (most of) you wouldn’t find an album composed entirely of cooler fan noises appealing, or art consisting of a particularly complicated circuit board. Wait that’s a real thing? The robots are here! We’re all going to die!!!
This piece was written by one of our work experience students. Didn’t he do a great job?