Each one of us gets excited when we hear of a robot performing anything as good as a human, or much better in a lot of cases. We hear of robot barista and robot waiters, we hear of drones and flying robots performing tasks marvelously and think about a future where robots will be serving us, and we can sit around and enjoy ourselves. There is a dark side to this which we fail to see. If robots will be doing everything in the future, how will humans live? What work will they do and how will they make money? The question leaves us with fear, and the fear is as real as it can get. The robot technology is at a point where it is prepared to replace over 10 million jobs in the UK.
A report by PWC titled “Consumer spending prospects and the impact of automation on jobs” claims that 30 percent of the UK workforce will be displaced by 2030. To put that into perspective; the population of the UK as of 2013 was nearly 60 million. According to the January 2017 release of the UK Labour Market, there are about 31.85 million people in the workforce. So replacing 10 million jobs would mean a third of the workforce will go out of jobs. That is as much as the entire population of South Korea.
The report suggests that the UK will employ more robots than even Japan.
“Our analysis suggests that around 30 percent of UK jobs could potentially be at high risk of automation by the early 2030s, lower than the US (38 percent) or Germany (35 percent), but higher than Japan (21 percent). The risks appear highest in sectors such as transportation and storage (56 percent), manufacturing (46 percent) and wholesale and retail (44 percent), but lower in sectors like health and social work (17 percent)”
The world needs to be worried and not just the UK. The report does not look entirely unrealistic; hasn’t automation been replacing jobs since forever now? PWC does not seem very sure though because there are so many factors involved, and the report says:
“However, in practice, not all of these jobs may actually be automated for a variety of economic, legal and regulatory reasons. Furthermore, new automation technologies will both create some totally new jobs in the digital technology area and, through productivity gains, generate additional wealth and spending that will support additional jobs of existing kinds, primarily in services sectors that are less easy to automate.”
We do not know whether to wish or not to wish for a futuristic robotic world. We can not deny the robot apocalypse is bound to happen if maybe not now then in a further future.