Humans will work alongside robots, rather than lose their jobs to automated machines, according to a new report from analyst firm Forrester, although millions of traditional jobs will die out as this change occurs.
The Future Of Jobs, 2025: Working Side By Side With Robots stresses that the rise of robot workers will not destroy jobs but will transform current workforces.
J P Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, dismissed the negativity surrounding robots expressed by technology luminaries and commentators.
“There’s a lot of talk these days about the bleak future of employment. Claims that robots will steal all the jobs are commonplace in the media and in academia,” he said.
“These concerns are driven by a host of new technologies that automate physical tasks (robotics), intellectual tasks (cognitive computing), and customer service tasks (everything from self-help kiosks to grocery store scanners).
“While these technologies are real and important, and some jobs will disappear because of them, the future of jobs overall isn’t nearly as gloomy as many prognosticators believe. In reality, automation will spur the growth of many new jobs, including some entirely new job categories.”
The report predicts that a 9.1 million jobs will be lost to robot workers in the US by 2025. This compares with a figure of 70 million, or 47 percent, predicted by Oxford Marin School academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne in their paper The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? (PDF).
Nine million jobs lost to machines is no small number, but the Forrester report suggests that some comfort can be found in new jobs created by the rise of robotics, such as the need to maintain and service the autonomous systems.
Gownder predicted that people will find work alongside robots. “The largest effect will be job transformation. Humans will find themselves working side by side with robots,” he said.
“Infrastructure and operations leaders will be at the forefront of efforts to choose, pilot, implement and evaluate these technologies, and to make sure they don’t merely cut costs but drive customer value.”
Fears around killer robots and psychotic artificial intelligence (AI) have recently been expressed by the likes of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephone Hawking, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak pictured a future of humans being the pets of robots.
However, a recent study by Deloitte found that technology and machines create jobs and improve humanity’s happiness rather than ruin it.
Given humanity’s appetite for self-destruction, perhaps humans should turn the criticism inwards before worrying that robots and AI will kill us all.