"They took our jobs," may someday not just be a "South Park" catchphrase, but an actual reality. Robots may become smarter and more capable of entering the workforce, according to a recent study about how new robotic and artificial intelligence technology will affect the future.
The study, done by Pew Internet Research, involved 12,000 experts in fields such as academics, technology and research to answer questions about what life might be like in 2025. The two main questions were about how robotics might displace human jobs and how integrated that technology will become in our daily lives.
In regards to jobs, the answer was disturbing. Nearly half of the experts believed the future would involve robots taking over jobs in almost every segment of industry and business. They even saw bosses and supervisors being replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). Careers most affected will include X-ray technicians, factory workers and news writer jobs. The latter is already being seen now, with the Associated Press experimenting with robots writing some of its stories.
However, those in creative fields are safest, along with those jobs that require critical thinking and the ability to make quick judgment calls.
It's not all bad news, though. Although robots will take over in a variety of fields, human jobs will focus more about building and maintaining the robotic workforce, along with other career paths we have not thought of yet. So it's possible that although some jobs will be lost, new ones will appear.
Of course, this means that humans need to focus more on education and training to keep up with the changing times.
"Only the best-educated humans will compete with machines," says Howard Rheingold, an educator and sociologist. "And education systems in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world are still sitting students in rows and columns, teaching them to keep quiet and memorize what is told [to] them, preparing them for life in a 20th century factory."
Experts also believe that by 2025, robots will be such a part of our lives that we won't even think about their presence.
By 2025, robots/AI (although probably not 'truly' self-aware robots) will start to become background noise in the day-to-day lives of people in the post-industrial world," says Jamais Cascio, a writer and futurist who specializes in future scenarios. "From self-driving taxis to garbage collectors to autonomous service systems, machines will start to exist in our social space the way that low-paid (often immigrant) human workers do now: visible but ignorable."
Humans may also benefit from robots handling more menial tasks, automating our lives and leaving us more free time that we can spend with our friends and families. We're sure Elon Musk has quite a few words to say about this.
See the complete study here.