- Long back in 1784 Scottish Mechanical Engineer Andrew Meikle invented threshing machine for separation of grain from stalks and husks. Before this machine come into existence, for thousands of years grain was separated by hand. Farm labourers had faced unemployment for a number of years due to this threshing machine (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshing_machine).
- Robots are replacing humans in manufacturing jobs. In July 2011 FoxConn (Taiwanese multinational / world’s largest electronics contract manufacturing company which manufactures products like iPad, iPhone, Kindle, etc) announced 1 three years plan to replace workers with more robots. At the moment they have around 20 thousand robots in June 2013 and will increase them to million. Their plan is to replace human assembly workers with robots and have these workers become technician and engineers
- Google’s driverless car will be on California roads by 2016/17. According to Sergey Brin, automating the vehicles will reduce number of fatal accidents on roads.
- IBM Watson is assisting Doctors and nurses in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Medical professionals can apply analytics and natural language processing to Big Data for evidence based decision support systems.
- IBM recently unveiled the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor to assist customer service agents or sit on consumers mobile devices to have online chat sessions. “Ask Watson” feature will quickly address customers’ questions, offer advice or solve their problems.
- Last week Gartner said “Smart Machines will have widespread and deep business impact through 2020”
For those who do not know what smart machines are, a simple definition is Smart machines are systems which will perform repetitive tasks at extremely high speeds and high accuracy and also adapt to surrounding conditions and adjust automatically. Gartner predicts that smart machines will have widespread and deep business impact by 2020.
Smart machines can be adopted in almost any and every business line. Parsing and analysis or hug data, real time business decisions, reduction of manual efforts and associated cost is all possible with only one downside – fear of unemployment.
Top 5 questions in my mind:
- From farming to service industry automation has impacted employment across globe. What job today is not machine replaceable?
- Assume smart machines really enter into our life and take away our jobs who will they serve to? Since we won’t have money to buy any product or service then.
- Except medial / life sciences field, do we really need this automation? What is the level of basic minimum automation?
- Will we ourselves become a robot or smart machine being and dealing with them in our normal life?
- With continuous fear of job security who in the world will be happy and enjoy such automation?
What are your thoughts?