How long before a robot does your job?

Oct 1, 2014

It may not be too long before your co-worker is a robot. That robot might eventually take your job, according to this video.

Purdue University Economist Dr. David Hummels, who spoke at the  Dawn or Doom conference September 18, says, "If I can describe everything about my job in a half a page description, I might be easily replaced. On the other hand, jobs that are based on complex sensory motor coordination are going to remain out of the reach of robotics for some time."

One example may be a pediatrician. Hummels compares that person to  "a parent-child psychologist," who probably could not be replaced by a robot. The Purdue professor says it's anybody's guess just how quickly robots will replace people in certain jobs. Some say a few years. Others say as much as 50 years.

Tech Briefs reports NASA is "working to program robots with forms of artificial intelligence similar to human thinking processes." Space agency scientists want to teach robots to be more independent and able to adjust their programming.

Cincinnati State robotic instructor Aaron Bloomfield sees lots of benefits for industrial robots.

  • They are stronger
  • They don't get tired
  • They can do mundane things
  • They can do dangerous jobs

But Bloomfield is hesitant about so-called "collaborative robots," like Baxter who work alongside people. He says he "doesn't want the robot to have a personality." Also, what if something goes wrong and the robot knocks you over?

TechSolve President Gary Conley met Baxter at the International Manufacturing Technology Show. He calls him a "kinder, gentler and easier to program robot." He's also unsure when this new breed of robots will take on more rolls. But, he says, "All companies we work with are predominately interested in increasing their bottom line and whatever will take them there they are interested in pursuing."

Robots are also writing music. In the above video, the narrator claims people can't tell the difference.