With the rise of artificial intelligence, robots and computer programmes have rendered certain jobs redundant. What does this mean for our future? Where would we be if it weren’t for digital personal assistant, Siri?
Seriously, from working out what to wear by requesting the day’s weather forecast, to dialing your favourite restaurant, to making a last-minute booking, to reminding you of your mom’s birthday, there’s not a lot Siri can’t help you with.
Which raises the question: with robots like Siri around, are we reaching the stage where pretty much anything humans can do, robots can do better? While it’s true that robots are becoming more and more accomplished, humans can still do one thing better, and that’s to think creatively.
In a world where so many tasks that were undertaken by humans in the past are becoming automated, we still have one thing in our favour: our emotions.
Where robots cannot show empathy, forge relationships, create connections, air opinions and see the bigger picture to develop new ways of doing things, humans can still do all of this – and more. There are certain jobs out there – cash distribution through ATM machines, and parking and movie ticket distribution, for example – that HUMANS BRING A CREATIVE ELEMENT TO THE JOBS THEY DO THAT CANNOT BE REPLICATED BY AN ALGORITHM, NO MATTER HOW SOPHISTICATED IT IS.
Robots simply carry out instructions, but humans are unique in that they are governed by connections and relationships, and much of their behaviour cannot be reduced to a rational, logical formula. And it is these human elements that bring a sense of the creative and the unexpected into the work we do.
At a time in which everything is becoming more and more digitised, a plethora of digital content is flooding the Web. When it comes to making sense of this information overload – or cutting it into manageable chunks that we can process and interpret – humans are better placed to cut and edit than formulaic algorithms are.
So careers that depend on interaction and communication with other people, as well as those that require intuitive thinking, will not be replaced quite as easily as one may think – despite our increasingly digital world.
This means that the jobs of doctors and therapists will remain in the human realm, as they require the ability to read non-verbal cues and to empathise with others. So, too, will jobs that require complex communication skills – the recognition of patterns and functions, such as electronic accounting and online retailing. In a landscape in which technological advancement is almost too rapid to measure, robotic skills are being honed and improved all the time.
However, here’s an interesting thought: the advent of robots has meant that humans are now able to do jobs that, just a short time ago, we would not have believed possible. Think of laparoscopic surgery, for example, in which surgeons are able to perform operations on one area of the body, through small incisions made elsewhere, by using an image from a camera positioned inside the patient’s body.
Essentially, the camera becomes the surgeon’s eyes. And, without the large cuts traditionally associated with major surgery, patients have less discomfort, shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times. With the help of automation, more jobs are created for humans. Automation allows us to focus on what we’re good at: creating new ways of doing things, and using robots for implementation. Perhaps it’s less a case of who can do the job better – human or robot – and more about how well we can work together to discover and do the things we’d never dreamt were possible.
SOME TASKS ROBOTS CAN’T DO (YET)