As technology constantly evolves, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more advanced, there’s the risk of robots potentially taking human jobs.
Discussions have been taking place to establish whether people will lose their jobs in the future and which professions are most likely to be affected. It was reported from a study undertaken by McKinsey & Company that about 30% of tasks in 60% of occupations could be carried out by robots and labour jobs could be most affected. There’s a possibility that routine-physical jobs will initially take the hardest hit including; cleaning, automotive, waitressing, manufacturing and warehouse jobs. Places such as Mac Donald’s have already adopted an automated kiosk approach that takes customers’ orders, cutting out all human contact. There’s divided opinion on whether AI will eventually takeover more intellectual jobs such as administration or financial roles and how quick this will happen.
Bricklaying Robots are here already
New York based company, Construction Robotics, has already created a bricklaying robot called SAM (Semi-Automated Mason) who can lay 3000 bricks a day, in comparison to builder who can lay an average of 500 bricks a day. Similarly, Australia has introduced a largescale bricklaying robot which can lay 1000 bricks an hour and could build approximately 150 homes a year. At this moment in time, there are set-backs for using these machines, SAM cannot deal with corners and the machine setup is timely which can delay the onsite process, SAM also needs human assistance to fully complete its bricklaying task.
Introducing new machinery like SAM poses a serious threat to builders working onsite, even though they require some human assistance thousands could lose their jobs once these machines are used onsite.
Another potential threat to tradesmen is the increase of prefabricated homes. The UK has seen a steady growth in people opting for a prefab home as it gives them the opportunity to create and design their own home without the lengthy and complex building process they can also save a lot of money in comparison to buying a home. The latest prefab homes are hard-wearing with the exterior being built in three to four days. This means electricians will have to adapt their job role slightly. Instead of conducting a full installation, an electrician will have to test, certify and connect the main points of the electrics within the home to the land. They may also be required to work within the factory making sure the electrics are all installed correctly. Currently, when purchasing a prefab home, the company specify the customer will have to use their employees to fully set-up home, if the popularity of these homes increases this may change in the future.
Supporters of prefab homes partially blame the shortage of skilled labour for the increase of modular houses. The rapid retirement rate of UK construction workers, has meant housebuilding companies have had to embrace new building techniques. Along with the introduction of virtual construction software being integrated into the production line process means the construction industry is ready for a big change.
What jobs are safe from AI?
There are jobs which will remain safe from the evolution of AI, jobs that requires a lot of dexterity, hand-eye coordination and flexibility. Skilled trade jobs such as electricians will remain safe due to the varying challenges in different environments, which will prove difficult for machines. Jobs that require empathy and creativity will also remain safe, these include; nurses, teachers, designers.
Optimists also believe that although AI may initially create employment loss, in the long run it will create higher employment rates. What a machine takes away will also give back with new industries and entirely new job roles, these fields include; computing, data science and engineering. They also believe robots will eventually enhance the productivity of job roles as they will work alongside electricians and teachers helping with more tasks including checking homework or assisting onsite.
The speed in which the changes will happen differ when considering the high financial cost of inventing and introducing new technology as well as the public adopting to a life with less human interaction.