15 August 2015
With artificial intelligence experts predicting that intelligent machines will increasingly replace human workers in the not too distant future, should you be worried about your livelihood?
A machine that can learn the same way as a human does, and has the processing power of the human brain, may still be the stuff of science fiction at present, but AI programs that can assist with medical diagnoses and offer advice on sound investments for example, are closer than we think.
Cutting edge organisations will increasingly combine human knowledge with AI data to hone results, reducing the human workforce and creating profound economic consequences that will affect us all.
At most risk are jobs in accounting, telemarketing and insurance underwriting, with dental technicians and legal assistants also showing up near the top of the list, according to an algorithm based on research from Oxford University.
Whether this is true or not will of course be seen in time, but if futurists' predictions are right, what will this mean for you and the world of work? For example, self-driving cars, which are already a technical reality, could put taxi, bus and delivery drivers out of business. And manufacturing and retail jobs could also take a hit from 3D printing capabilities which will allow consumers to make products at home without ever having to purchase them from a store.
Robots already help farmers, and in the future could take over restaurant service jobs. After all, robots don't get sick, need time off, or even sleep, and of course the biggest advantage of a robot employee is that you don't have to pay it a salary.
"Thinking is a human feature. Will AI Someday really think? That's like asking if submarines swim. If you call it swimming, then robots will think, yes" - Noam Chomsky
Of course there will also be many IT job opportunities that come with the rise of the robot workforce. An increased fleet of designers, engineers, technicians and systems managers will all be required to keep things running smoothly. And it won't just be jobs in the technology sector that will be created thanks to aggressive automation. Robots will free us up to discover many new ways to earn a living, just like technology in agriculture enabled the discovery of a wide range of vocations away from the toil of the farm.
Ethical, environmentally friendly computer recycling has never been so vital, with the incredible and inevitable advances in technology creating a steady stream of products that will need to be disposed of properly. So if you want to keep your data completely secure and the environment healthy, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration. And don't forget, companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.