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Adoption of AI in Robotics – The Future of Work

Mr Oliver Tian, Oliver Tian Associates, APARA

Mr Oliver Tian (Oliver Tian Associates, and Honorary Advisor to APARA – Asia Pacific Assisted Robotics Association)

As the future of the world morphs itself, it will become more urban, with the majority of people living in cities or city-equivalent cosmopolitans. In the concentrated populace continents of Asia and Africa, a flourishing youth population will mainly live in new or fast-expanding cities. This trend is compounded in the West, where an ageing population will face distinct challenges of its own in crowded urban environments, whilst the cities themselves are also ageing.

Globally, this trend will create opportunities to improve the quality of life for everyone, which unfortunately, also brings challenges in terms of congestion, air pollution, and increased demands for natural resources and open and safe spaces. Smart Cities aim to leverage on technology to build a higher quality of life and alleviate the worsening problems.

We live in a time of unprecedented comfort and prosperity. Our past have been mostly eased and cosseted by modern innovations and technology breakthroughs. Critics question if we may have reached an apex.

However, emerging technologies that have been gestating for decades, such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robotics – are fast maturing to a point where they could render certain skilled roles obsolete and cause huge social dislocation. And, the strategic adoption of AI in Robotics could help support smarter urban growth in areas such as transportation, logistics, policing, healthcare, maintenance, construction, and many more.

Work as we know it, is changing faster than ever. The constant advancement of connectivity, IoT devices and information analytics is impacting everything we do and everyone from the mailroom to the boardroom.

Feasting on the vast data sets generated by our hyper-connected world, from the data collected from social media to warehouses of public records and meteorological data points, the machines are getting smarter at an amazing rate. Numerous success cases point to an inflection point for all human beings, and these affect the way we will work, live and play.

And to keep up, the way we work must also change. So the first question to ask ourselves is “how”?

AI will allow the working population to perform more varied roles by enabling them to find solutions to problems that would previously have been referred up the chain of command. And, AI in Robotics will introduce machine co-workers which will collaborate with human to work together in harmony.

Performance indicators will be expected to shift from efficiency and effectiveness to one of human experiences – both for the customers and the employees.

Contrary to doomsday headlines about widespread job losses, the responsible adoption of AI and Robotics will be much more nuanced and could even have a positive impact on how we work. The impact of automation very much depends on the type of role being automated. Some jobs require emotional intelligence, nuanced judgment and cultural understanding that smart machines just can’t simply replace.

So, AI will not totally replace human workers, instead the technology will be leveraged to augment human potential, especially for human workers in customer-facing roles.

This is not only good for the organization, creating more flexible working patterns and a focus on higher value tasks, but also good for the workforce, who may find their new duties more stimulating. Customer-facing employees may also use smart machines to eliminate the mundanity and frustrations of their day-to-day role. In fact, many surveys discovered that their respondents believe AI will allow them to perform more varied roles.

Humans build intelligent machines. AI in Robotics is no more than our own creation. AI in Robotics will define our Future of Work. As technology develops at an accelerated pace, cognitive abilities and tasks once believed to be reserved for humans are increasingly being carried out by the machines, thus making a significant impact of the work landscape.

AI in Robotics will be expected to create a net increase of jobs, but decimate middle-class careers. The question remains as to how much change to the work process, the work skills and work environment, are being designed for the Future of Work?

AIBotics 2020 will be held in August 2020 with a 2-Day Conference and Exhibition, plus an additional day of workshops and tutorials. The theme for 2020 is “Augmenting the Human Potential”. This understanding and implementation of AI in Robotics across the wide range of applications aim to bring together the most progressive end-users, first-class speakers, and innovative solution providers.

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