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?