Thursday, May 6, 2021

Robots poised to take 5.1 million jobs

It is no secret that today’s world revolves around technology.

As a society, people rely on technology and its advances throughout aspects of everyday life. What they might not consider, however, is how far we can push these advancements and how they will impact the futures of college graduates.

Robots and other modern technologies could take 5.1 million jobs across the United States, India, and other leading countries by the year 2020, according to a study published by the World Economic Forum.

The study claims about two-thirds of the jobs lost will be in office and administration fields, sales and real estate. It is also expected to impact manufacturing and production, as well as health care.

Plattsburgh State Management, Information Systems and Analytics Professor Petulia Blake, who holds a doctorate in technology management, said that, as a society, people should learn to embrace and understand the change, rather than fear it.

“Fear only cripples the learning process and creativity,” Blake said.

She said creativity would still be needed in future job markets, and would impact the development, programming and management of these robots, which would require human interaction and interface.

“It’s about planning and preparing for this change,” Blake said, “It’s also about the diversity of knowledge and experience. We need to create a team for the technology.”

She said that the use of these robots would not be “anti-human,” but rather, work alongside humans.

Blake said students should still follow their passions but should also be well-rounded students with knowledge in several different courses, if possible.

“Take advantage of internships to know how the company would respond in that situation,” Blake said on the use of robots.

She said she believes that the robots could not replace a human-to-human interaction. She said the robots can only be as smart as those who program them, so they would possess a human-like intelligence.

Anthony Noce, a PSUC lecturer in the economics and finance department at PSUC said that human touch will always be necessary in society, especially in the healthcare profession.

“It would be hard to recreate a robot that has the cognitive and emotional abilities of a human,” Noce said.

He said that he would not be surprised if robots had a large presence in future economic systems.

“It is certainly possible,” Noce said.

He said students should still major in what they are interested in, similarly to Blake, but to also consider “survival” in job markets.

Noce also said that even if using a large amount of robots would impact the economy, it would be a part of a “creative destruction” system, meaning that while the current economic system would be impacted, the robots could help to rebuild a potentially new, more productive, economy.

PSUC computer science major Jonathan Kaufman believes the robots and humans could work together as well. While outsourcing is a common issue in the computer science field, he does not think it is possible that jobs will be outsourced to robots just yet.

Kaufman said there are both extreme positives and extreme negatives to using a large amount of robots throughout the economy. The services and products would be available quicker, but there could be fewer jobs and less funding.

He said that while using robots in manufacturing would be cheaper for companies, cutting production costs and effectively making services or products cheaper, but it could cost companies more to invest in newer forms of technology, possibly increasing the cost of goods or services.

“It would depend on the good or service being produced,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman also said he would consider working with robots one day, if the opportunity was given to him.

“It depends on how the whole thing would play out,” Kaufman said on the idea of working with robots, depending on the economic situation.

Email Marissa Russo at marissa.russo@cardinalpointsonline.com

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