On my way back from Singapore a few weeks ago, I had the chance to watch an interesting TED Talk about robots taking human jobs. It got me thinking: What would happen if robots and machines took over? Would they take every job imaginable, or just take over a few industries? Will your job become obsolete as machine learning and artificial intelligence continue to ebb into even the most mundane tasks of our daily lives?
My perspective is that machines and robots will make our lives easier, but not take away everyone’s jobs. The question that then stands is: Where will those people who’ve lost their jobs to machines work? Can robots do everything humans can do, but better?
iPrefer: The human touch combined with technology offers an outstanding CX
While in Singapore, I went to a sushi restaurant with my team. Although there were still employees of the restaurant walking around, iPads were on every table. When the host seated us, she gave us all physical menus, but we had to order via the iPad, similar to what Panera Bread is doing in the US. The primary difference between the sushi restaurant and Panera is that in the restaurant ordering via the iPad was the only option, while at Panera you can either order at the register or via the iPad.
In the case of the sushi restaurant, the iPad took the job of an actual waitress. While one could envision this happening throughout the entire restaurant industry to save costs, many would prefer to have an actual waitress to answer any questions they might have, or make special requests. I personally like having an actual person to talk to, especially at sit down restaurants like this one.
iPads can make for convenient ordering when customers expect a quick and reliable visit, while an iPad complemented with waitstaff at restaurants where the dining experience is expected to take longer can help facilitate an outstanding and personalized experience.
I, Robot versus reality
Although not mainstream yet, driverless cars are becoming more and more commonplace. These autonomous cars could potentially eliminate the jobs of bus drivers, taxi drivers, and now Uber and Lyft drivers. On the other hand, in theory, they could also help address safety and traffic issues. While this trend is further down the road, it could be advantageous to begin robotic skills training in schools, so that the ability to program these vehicles would be instilled along with other essential elements of education.
I believe that for the most part, robots and machines will make our lives easier, but can never replace the human element that is necessary to make an experience outstanding. Even the most realistic robots wouldn’t be able to offer the same human connection as an actual person.
Though machine learning is growing by leaps and bounds, there is still a struggle with machines being able to recognize and correctly process human emotion. When it comes to battling machines for our jobs, it might just turn out that our humanity is the most powerful weapon that we possess.