It's interesting to hear people complain about robots replacing various jobs. I include myself as one of those people and my kids as they are old enough to understand it now. Robots in the form of automated driving from cars to trucks is a big topic these days. Inevitably these automated driving machines (robots) will replace almost all drivers. People who make a living at it now but also other people who drive themselves will not need to drive anymore. As I think about it and talk to my kids I indicate that automation from “robots” is not new and is always evolving. Starting when people moved from their feet to shoes, to a horse, to cars or the mechanical tractor replacing the man/plow are all types of automation (robots). Even without the computer doing the driving they are all robots to me. In fact, any machinery from the Industrial Revolution’s past hundred years is a robot and most likely replaced people or animals after it was created.
Robots are everywhere. Any kiosk, ATMs, people movers, escalators, electric carts that help the Walmart employee bring in shopping carts, the calculator, abacus, a ruler etc… EVERYTHING is a robot and has replaced people in some way. Society, I believe, is efficient and new jobs will be created as these “robots” take over older areas. To ease the process it is important that educational support for our evolution is available and we will all have easy access to it. Again technology is critical for that learning to happen as well. It should not be left to chance and active work must be done to ensure opportunities for all.
All these “robots” may seem like only job removers but are many times they are job creators in hiding. The mechanical car and truck invention of a hundred plus years ago while taking jobs away from some people created many new jobs that would not have existed without the invention. More jobs were created because people could accomplish more tasks with the new invention but also because society could support more people due to the invention. With automated driving, we will lose many jobs over time that had been newly created over the past 100 years. However, I believe new jobs will be created in this wake of this new world but of a different nature.
While automated driving cars are an extremely visible area where robots will take jobs, I believe it's the intellectual workers that will be the most affected and more quickly. More quickly because it takes time for physical jobs like drivers to be replaced vs. computer-based jobs. Natural language processing (NLP) will provide easy input/retrieval mechanisms for people working with knowledge. And, knowledge can be anything really. Looking for flights, flight status, ordering McDonald's, getting FAQ answered, allowing a dentist to access your records, ETC... are all information that is supported in some form by people today. Speech understood by the computer will remove people from the loop. This replacement will first start on these small domains as the natural language support is manageable for the computer scientist/linguist. e.g. There are only so many items on a McDonald's menu and ways to ask for food vs understanding the entire English language, as is seen in artificial intelligence in sci-fi movies.
As society inevitably moves forward with all “robots” people will need to evolve and educate themselves to do newer cooler things. No one is immune, not even computer science people as we will all have language systems eating away at our jobs too. We just need to help each other educate ourselves in the new always evolving in the world.