Humans: 1 – Automation: 0

The Fear Of Automation

One of the most common fears humanity has is that their job will be replaced by automation. Although the knowledge that at some point, most jobs we know as humans will become obsolete as machinery would be able to do them for us, we never did expect automation to expand so rapidly and so overwhelmingly in many sections of industry. In an article by Forbes however, they say "Humans have a secret weapon as they face off against computers in the workforce of the future: empathy. Even as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning make greater in-roads not only in manual labor but also in cognitive tasks, humans will still have occupational oases in the desert of displaced workers. Jobs that require a one-on-one connection – such as in healthcare, education, and hospitality and tourism – will remain firmly in people’s hands."

Humanity's Skills

But empathy is not the only thing separating people from machines. Global Banking And Finance in their article list of at least 10 skills that are not currently able to be automated, things such as creativity skills, communication skills and Leadership skills require traits that simply cannot be automated, and although it makes sense for some of us to be concerned in reality there are ways to mitigate the "threat" of the robot apocalypse.

For starters, there are numerous articles, like this one by Harvard Business, showcase the importance of "staying ahead of the curve" in today's society. simply put, as long as you make sure you develop skills that are impossible to be replaced by automation, such as the ones listed above, the "threat" of automation becomes less and less.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

As a matter of fact, even in his article and TED talk by Pedro Uria-Recio, states that automation and AI is going to make our jobs more humane than not, with the dangerous and menial tasks, best suited for automation, replace humans, while humans get to enjoy more supervisory and judgement based jobs. Even ING posted an article on the subject matter in which I will quote "The demand for workers with many different types of skills is likely to result in increased, rather than decreased, demand for employment agency services. “Digital technology and skills will certainly play a role in helping to select suitable candidates for positions,” says Blom. “However, human skills will become more important to matching candidates to positions given the variety and mix of skills they will require. HR firms will need to understand their customers and candidates more than in the past and technology won’t be able to do that.”"

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Now, we have gone down this road before, in our previous article we discussed about why people worry and why they should not. Now, we actually have solid proof of why they should NOT worry about AI taking over their jobs. From Bizzandtech to AppleInsider the news was redistributed that Apple has actually verified that Humans are better than automation.

As Apple Insider reports: "Seemingly as a result of Foxconn's original efforts, Apple launched its own secret robotics lab in 2012, based around six miles from Apple Park. It housed a team of automation specialists and robotics engineers who initially tried mimicking the iPad automatic production line."

After their tests concluded their tests the results were in: "It didn't work. Typical problems that arose include how Apple's use of glue required precision the machinery couldn't reliably match. And the tiny screws needed required the automation to correctly pick and position them but that same automation couldn't detect problems the way a human hand could."

But that was not the end of Apple's attempts at automation. They also tried to automate their macbook series, but also fell into problems, a key one being that when things would stall, or "break" for whatever reason, automation could not return a valid report as to what, and where, got wrong.

This as well as teaching human workers new manufacturing designs is and I quote "training workers on new designs is vastly easier and quicker", Apple as well as Tesla and Boeing have famously attempted and abandoned automation.

Final Thoughts

With all the information gathered from various articles like this one from Workology I think the evidence is conclusive. The difference between Humans and AI will always remain a deciding factor that will always make sure that there is need for Human supervision at the very least. With many key skills tied to the human psyche I doubt that automation or AI will eclipse human labor any time soon.

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