robear1Computers were designed to make our lives more efficient, such as being able to calculate more complex mathematical equations faster than it would take us to even begin to understand what was being asked of us. They also automate tasks like turning on the lights of your home at night and turning them off in the day while starting up your coffee machine.

Unfortunately if there is a side-effect to computers making our lives easier, it also means that it marginalizes certain jobs or professions. Think about back in the day where there were no machines involved in farming. Farmers would actually have to manually dig out potatoes and carrots, but now there are machines where it can pull up hundreds of potatoes and carrots in one fell swoop.

They are also able to pluck stalks of wheat and separate the grains all at the same time. This means that while we still need drivers to drive these machines, a job that would have taken 10 farmers to do might now only need 1 farmer. There are some more obvious instances of robots replacing humans in the factory assembly line, so we have decided to list five less obvious professions that could be replaced by robots/machines/computers one day.

Hotel Receptionists

Whether it be a surly and disgruntled employee at some motor inn who obviously would rather not be there, or a smiling and bubbly receptionist at a 5-star hotel, receptionists are hotels are a given. However over in Japan, the land where they love their robots, there is, at least, one hotel who has decided to use a robotic dinosaur in place of a typical receptionist.

Granted there are still some limitations to AI and exactly how much a robot can accomplish in terms of interacting with humans, it still goes to show how at least for the simple task of greeting guests and helping them check in, a robot would be sufficient.

Sales Representatives

Another invention from Japan, they have created a robot by the name of Pepper that can actually double up as a sales rep, as evidenced when Nestlé decided to use the robot to try and sell potential customers the company’s coffee machines. The main difference, and it is a huge difference, between Pepper and a TV ad or a billboard is the robot’s ability to sense the person’s emotions.

This is thanks to the robot’s built-in sensors that can read the person’s face as well as detect their tone of voice. This gives the robot an idea of how the person might be feeling and thus depending on its programming, cater its responses or products to their needs. So the next time you walk down a supermarket aisle, instead of finding a human trying to get you to try the latest yoghurt flavor from a company, you might have a robot who will be able to get that job done in perhaps a slightly more intuitive manner.

Tattoo Artists

Say you find an image of a rose online that you think would make for a great tattoo. However even if a tattoo artist were to copy the design exactly, imitating the shading and colors is a whole different story, and sometimes what looked cool on the computer ends up looking less cool on your skin.

Turns out that over in France, a group of students modified a 3D printer where it essentially doubled up as a tattoo machine. This meant that in theory, you could just tell the printer what you want as a tattoo by loading the image file on it, and it will be able to tattoo an exact copy of the image onto your skin.

The technology is still rather basic at the moment so don’t expect it to be able to create complex shapes and patterns, but considering that such a machine would be faster and more precise and does not require rest or sick days, we wouldn’t be surprised if eventually there would be a future where there are shops that you can walk in, pick a design, and stick your arm into the machine and get a tattoo in under an hour.

Taxi Drivers/Chauffeurs

It is no secret that a lot of carmakers are exploring the idea of creating a car in which it could drive itself. What this means is that in the future, there would no longer be a need for a taxi or a driver because all you would need is the car, a location, and it should be able to get you there.

Companies like Google, Volvo, Tesla, and Apple (if the rumors are to be believed), just to name a few, are all working on similar technology. Heck, it would not be surprising if it would be possible that with a smartphone app, you could summon a car via car service or even your own car to your location, get in and enter your destination, and you’re good to go.

Of course, such technology still remains a very, very distant future as companies like Ford only expects self-driving cars to hit the roads in 2020. There are also plenty of legal and regulatory hurdles that companies need to overcome, as well as social hurdles where society needs to start being more accepting of such technology for it to truly take off, but hey a future where we won’t have to deal with angry and rude taxi drivers is a future worth looking forward to.

Actors/Actresses

In the past, we have seen how humans have pretended to be robots on the big (and small) screen. James Cameron’s Terminator would be the perfect example. However would it be a stretch to think that one day robots could actually be used in movies to portray humans? Think less temperamental personalities to deal with, fewer demands, and also potentially a lot cheaper too.

If the idea is absurd, then you probably have not heard of a recent movie in Japan called Sayonara where a robot was actually cast as one of the film’s actresses. Now robots in movies aren’t new as we have seen in classics like Jaws and Jurassic Park where robots are used in place of sharks and well, dinosaurs.

However what makes this particular movie interesting is how the robot has actually received billing credits, meaning that instead of it being treated as a prop, it is being treated as an actual actress. But will robots be able to pull off emotion and the subtle nuances that go into a performance? That’s really anyone’s guess but if anything, Sayonara does set an interesting precedent in terms of casting robots as potential actors or actresses in movies.

Bonus: Journalists/Writers

Ever wonder why some articles you read online are sometimes similar in terms of style and structure? There is a good chance that either the writer is able to remain consistent in their writing or is emulating another style down to a science, or it could be that robots are actually doing the writing for them. Apparently this is thanks to software like Wordsmith that can generate thousands of financial reports and sports updates. The upside to this is that publishers can now generate content quickly anytime they want, although the downside is that such reports might end up being rather monotonous since they all end up sounding similar-ish.

Conclusion

Just because a robot is cheaper and more efficient, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the logical thing to do would be to replace the job of an actual human. For example, while a robot receptionist at a hotel would be able to expedite the checking-in and checking-out process, some guests might prefer chatting with an actual human to gain insight in the area they are staying, as well as asking for personal recommendations that a robot might not be able to give.

Humans are also, in general, more flexible than robots and not in the physical sense. For example, imagine being caught for speeding. If the speed cam caught you, your fine is pretty much non-negotiable versus being pulled over by a human police officer where depending on their mood, they might just let you off with a warning.

We suppose the day will come, if it hasn’t already, where some jobs will be replaced by computers and robots, but if you work in any of the professions we mentioned above, we reckon you should still be able to keep your job for the foreseeable future!

Filed in Computers >Robots..

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