Even though the year 2025 is only eight years way, it will be a transformed world to the one we now inhabit. We know quite definitely there will be less jobs and less hours to work. It has been estimated in a number of national and international reports that there will be 40% less jobs by 2030 due to the impact of AI and robotic labour. And with less hours worked, there will be less money to go around. Will we have to change our expectations of what we want in life? But the things we want may also be much cheaper. 3-D printing could change the way we build our houses and will cost a fraction of the price to build. And with less work, we will have more leisure. But what will we do? Will we spend our leisure time thinking of new ways to make more money or will we think about the meaning of making more money? Will we, in other words, engage in philosophy? Not if there’s going to be all these sex and companionship robots walking around. What will we do then?
Woodbox Café, West Burleigh 6th June 10.30-Noon $5
Krish restaurant, Easy-T centre, Robina 6th June 5.30-7.00pm $10 (includes nibbles)
GC Arts Centre, 7th June 11.30-1.00pm $5
Robots and Work
The landmark 2013 Frey and Osborne report predicted that 40% of jobs in countries such as Britian, the US, and Australia will be lost to robots and AI by 2025. However a Forrester report predicts only a 6% loss by 2021 and some writers think the danger is completely over-blown. Accurate industry figures can be found at the World Robotics Organisation.
Frey and Osborne 2013 report
Robots eliminate 6% of US jobs by 2021
Robotenomics: over-stated fear of job loss
World Robotics Organisation
However the generally accurate recognition that many jobs will disappear has prompted speculation about a future world without work – will it be a utopia or a hell? In fact, the catch-phrase ‘robots are coming for your jobs’ has become so popular that it yields dozens of direct hits on a google search. An example of the rapid development of highly mobile robots can be seen on the links for Boston Dynamics. In 2016, a driverless bus was tested in Perth. This example illustrates how quickly these changes are happening.
World without work
Google search: ‘robots are coming for your jobs’ multiple references eg on the need for digital literacy http://www.iflscience.com/technology/robots-are-coming-your-job-why-digital-literacy-so-important-jobs-future/
Robots at Boston Dynamics
Driverless bus in Perth
The World Robotics Organisation distinguishes between industrial robots and personal service robots, the latter generally having a humanoid appearance. Humanoid robots are either gendered (gynoids (F) or androids (M)) or are gender neutral. They will be employed in a variety of occupations including aged care, domestic workers, and sex workers. The Pepper robot is now being sold for use in retail and domestic situations.
Japanese gynoid video
German gynoid video
Non-specified gender robots
Domestic robot gynoid
Gynoid sex worker
Over the past five years, humanoid robots have developed so quickly that they are now almost physically indistinguishable from humans. There is currently a large demand for sex gynoids for men (at a cost of around $US15,000) but there is also development occurring for sex androids for women.
10 humanoid robots
10 robots that will change the world
8 robots that look human
Sex robots for men
Sex robots for women
One unexpected area where robot growth is expected is in the field of robot therapy and psychology.
Psychological intimacy with robots
AI programs have now surpassed human capacity in a number of games including Chess and Go and as this capacity increases in the future, there will be the development of super-intelligence in A.I. programs. This intelligence will have the capacity to connect wirelessly with robots, thereby creating super-intelligent robots.
In this brief summary view of the future world of 2025, I have focused exclusively on the role of robots even though there will be many other technological impacts including nanotechnology, cyborgs, 3-D printing, electronic surveillance, etc. There is no definitive resource for this topic and it is one of those issues where your own research will take you far.
Two interesting literary resources are the writings of Isaac Asmiov who looks at the development of robots into the far future and the TV series ‘Humans’ (derived from the Swedish noir ‘Real Humans’) which examines many of the issues raised here.