Social Robots and Technology Development
Technology today is evolving at a rapid pace, enabling faster change and progress, causing an acceleration of the rate of change. However, it is not only technology trends and emerging technologies that are evolving, a lot more has changed this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19 making IT professionals realize that their role will not stay the same in the contactless world tomorrow. And an IT professional in 2023-24 will constantly be learning, unlearning, and relearning (out of necessity if not desire). These developments can improve the speed, quality, and cost of goods and services, but they also displace large numbers of workers. This possibility challenges the traditional benefits model of tying health care and retirement savings to jobs. In an economy that employs dramatically fewer workers, we need to think about how to deliver benefits to displaced workers.
If automation makes jobs less secure in the future, there needs to be a way to deliver benefits outside of employment. Industrial robots are expanding in magnitude around the developed world. In 2013, for example, there were an estimated 1.2 million robots in use. This total rose to around 1.5 million in 2014 and is projected to increase to about 1.9 million in 2017.(4) Japan has the largest number with 306,700, followed by North America (237,400), China (182,300), South Korea (175,600), and Germany (175,200). Overall, robotics is expected to rise from a $15-billion sector now to $67 billion by 2025. The early 21st century saw the first wave of companionable social robots. There are computerized algorithms that have taken the place of human transactions. We see this in the stock exchanges, where high-frequency trading by machines has replaced human decision making. People submit buy and sell orders, and computers match them in the blink of an eye without human intervention. Machines can spot trading inefficiencies or market differentials at a very small scale and execute trades that make money for people.
Artificial intelligence refers to “machines that respond to stimulation consistent with traditional responses from humans, given the human capacity for contemplation, judgment and intention.” Long considered a visionary advance, AI is now here and being incorporated in a variety of different areas. It is being used in finance, transportation, aviation, and telecommunications. Expert systems “make decisions which normally require a human level of expertise.” These systems help humans anticipate problems or deal with difficulties as they come up. There is growing applicability of artificial intelligence in many industries. It is being used to take the place of humans in a variety of areas.