Bots Taking Over

Recently, Bill Gates commented on how the “software substitution” or robots will replace the low-end jobs during his conversation at American Enterprise Institute entitled Poverty To Prosperity (video length: 1hr06m). 

In his words (the topic in question starts around the 46 minute mark) – “Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing. …  Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. …  20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”
What Bill is saying is not something new or surprising, yet seems to have caught people by surprise; garnished with predictable anger-filled backlash from the lot who feel helpless. Remember that the whole tech industry is built on the notion of automation and promise to businesses of reduced costs by eliminating human error or accelerating production or service processes….in other words, elimination of human labor from the workforce. As the breakneck speed continues in the development of robotics, software automation, artificial intelligence, humans are yet again faced with same notion of Darwinian theory – survival of the adaptable.
While some people may see this as an attack to the workforce, others see it as a progress where the menial jobs can be performed by machines leaving humans with more time and nudging them towards better resource management. We are just at the dawn of years and decades of struggle between humans and machines. Is Skynet self-aware yet?

6 thoughts on “Bots Taking Over

  1. I sure hope not R2R, but maybe we should bring John Conner back…..just in case. Along this thread of robot workers…..I heard McDonalds will begin testing a system that allows customers to put their own orders in a computer. I’m conflicted about this… a McDonalds shareholder it’s a great cost savings. As a person, I feel bad for the former cashiers :o/

    • Thats what I was trying to get at, Bryan. We could feel bad for ourselves or move on and adapt to a changing world. Robotics (and software automation that goes with it) has a very bright future and will replace a lot of humans in menial jobs.

    • The system that allow you to make your orders through a computer is already working at my local McDonalds. Its so great. I dont have to wait in line and I can take my time to get the order as I want without having to interact with stressed people.

    • DividendChamp,
      I havent seen how this works in real life. Do you have to punch it in? Why dont they have the customers just speak to the machine? Voice recognition has come a long way in the last few years…it will remove the annoyances of punching things in.

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