Are robots coming for your job?
If you read the headlines or watch the news, you might be worried that the rise of automation means that most of us will be out of a job in the next decade or two.
But the truth is that your job is highly unlikely to be taken over by a robot. Unless you do something extremely repetitive, like working doing the same task all day every day on an assembly line, it’s much more likely that a robot (or AI software) will end up helping you do your job instead.
Five Ways in Which Robots and Artificial Intelligence Are Great News
#1 AI is Helping to Save Lives
One of the best things about AI is that it’s helping to save lives. In particular, AI has been a big part of the fight against coronavirus around the world.
As Infused Innovations reports, the partnership between Adaptive Technologies and Microsoft meant that COVID-19 immune responses could be mapped through machine learning. This data is helping to speed up and improve the diagnosis, treatment, and even prevention of coronavirus. AI is also critical in developing vaccines, by speeding up the process of protein analysis.
AI is also being used in many other medical areas, such as to read mammogram results more quickly and accurately than a human could.
#2: AI Massively Reduces Drudgery
Let’s face it, some jobs are simply boring. AI can be used to take over boring and repetitive tasks such as software testing – freeing up people for more interesting, varied, and profitable roles.
A brilliant example of AI taking on a repetitive task was the use of Google’s TensorFlow to sort cucumbers. Makoto Koike, a former embedded systems designer, found a way to use it to classify cucumbers into their different grades at his parents’ farm – saving his mother up to eight hours a day at peak harvesting times.
#3: AI Isn’t Prone to Human Error
Humans make mistakes, perhaps due to tiredness, distractions, or a momentary loss of focus. Robots don’t have any of these problems.
For instance, AI can be used for repetitive tasks like data entry, where it’s not only expensive to pay a human to carry out the task, but where errors might creep in. The use of AI in medicine is also helping to reduce errors that might be caused by exhausted doctors or overworked nursing staff.
Another great example of AI working with humans to reduce errors is in ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistant Systems), which improve road safety by helping drivers to avoid accidents. ADAS technologies include adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and forward collision warnings.
#4: AI Can Work 24/7
For many businesses, it’s not cost-effective to pay a second or third shift of employees to work during the night. But customers increasingly expect to be able to get responses to their questions outside core business hours.
AI is particularly useful here, as AI chatbots can be used to respond to inquiries instantly, 24/7. Even when support staff are available, an AI chatbot can take on many common questions – freeing up humans for when they’re actually needed.
#5: Robots Can Carry Out Hazardous Tasks
Another crucial way in which robots can help is by taking on tasks that would simply be too dangerous for humans. Robots can be designed to withstand extreme conditions, such as heat or even radiation.
For instance, robots are used by firefighters to assess burning buildings – making it easier for the firefighters to prepare for the situation ahead. Another crucial use of robots is to clean up nuclear sites, so that humans don’t need to be exposed to dangerous radiation.
Seven Ways Robots and AI Are Helping You Already in Your Daily Life
If you’re concerned about robots and AI, you might be picturing scenarios from movies where an “evil” AI takes over the world or a robot runs amok.
But the reality is that no robot or AI system comes anything close to that. Instead, AI is designed for very specific tasks – like recognizing photos or understanding voice commands.
Here are some ways in which you’re already benefiting from robots and AI … even if you didn’t realize it:
#1: Your Inbox Isn’t Full of Spam
Most modern email systems are surprisingly good at keeping spam out of your inbox. Just take a look at your spam folder: chances are, it’s packed with junk messages. It might seem like a small thing, but having this spam automatically dealt with by AI algorithms helps make your daily life that bit easier.
#2: Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri Can Understand You
Do you have a smart speaker like Alexa, or do you use Siri or Google Assistant on your phone? Then you’re making use of the power of AI. They can understand what you’re saying, and respond appropriately, due to machine learning – and they get smarter all the time.
#3: Your Facebook Feed Shows Posts You’re Interested In
Facebook and other social media sites don’t tend to show you all the posts from every single friend and group in your feed: it would quickly become overwhelming. Instead, they show what you’re most interested in – based on the actions you’ve taken in the past (such as liking a post from a particular person, or visiting a particular group’s page). Again, this is AI in action.
#4: Your Bank Can Detect and Prevent Fraud
Banks use AI to monitor transactions and to flag up potentially fraudulent ones. This means that if someone gets hold of your bank card and tries to steal from you, that transaction can be prevented before it even goes through. This potentially saves you a lot of time and hassle in trying to get your money back.
#5: Amazon and Netflix Can Make On-Point Recommendations For You
Have you ever bought something on Amazon, only to get an email a few days later with something else that you really want? Or have you watched a show on Netflix, only to find Netflix recommending something else that becomes your latest favorite? The recommendations algorithms used by Amazon and Netflix are powered by AI.
#6: Your Phone Can Recognize your Face
If you unlock your phone using facial recognition, then you’re using the power of AI. Your phone can detect your face, turn what it seeds into digital data, and figure out whether it matches. While there are privacy concerns about face recognition technology when used by governments or police forces, there’s no denying that it’s a safe and secure way to unlock your phone.
#7: Google Maps Can Tell You The Best Route
Google Maps (and similar apps) can calculate your best route to your destination at any given time, taking into account traffic and construction. You don’t have to check the news or make a guess at which route is going to be best. That’s AI at work again, helping to make your commute or journey easier.
New technology can feel daunting, even scary. But robots aren’t about to take over your jobs (and they certainly won’t be taking over the world). Instead, AI is already benefiting you in lots of different ways … with many more advantages yet to come.
Erika is a freelance copywriter and content manager. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing with her cat Cola.