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Robotic Workplace: Death of the Human Employee

The past centuries have shown an enormous advance in technology, from landing on the moon to the advent of the internet. It has been exciting...

The past centuries have shown an enormous advance in technology, from landing on the moon to the advent of the internet. It has been exciting to speculate about technologies that will be invented next.

A YouTube video titled “Humans Need Not Apply” has answered this speculation. Focusing on jobs that have been long thought to be safe from machine takeover, the author CGP Grey revealed the rise of the robot revolution. From blue-collar jobs, such as construction workers and taxi drivers, to white collar jobs, such as lawyers and bankers, Grey predicts that in the future, no job will be safe from being outsourced to robotic workers.

Is Any Job Safe?

While a robot-driven society is theoretically very exciting, it also produces a very bleak outlook for the human race. Grey displays that not even the creative sector is safe from being occupied by robots; part of the video’s music was written by a mechanical mind.

How will society change as machines begin to take over the workplace? The first reaction is to try to think of jobs that are (theoretically) safe from this technological evolution. In the end, it seems as though the occupations that attract human emotion and interaction will be the most likely candidates. At this point in time, it seems unlikely that we would vote for a robot politician, or talk about our problems to a robotic psychologist.

Rise of the Software Tester

Besides politicians, psychologists, salesmen and athletes, Software Testing is another job that is foreseen to be protected as a necessary human job. Not only could software testing remain as a viable career path, it could almost prove to be a good thing for the software testers. While robots are still becoming viable entities in the workforce, there will still be a need for software programmers and testers. In actuality, software testing is an even safer job than programmers, because even after a robotic computer programmer is created, there will still be a requirement to test that computer programmer.

While it could be easy to think that test automation could be managed very easily by robots, particularly those that have gained an artificial intelligence, the fact remains that this “thinking process” will take a very long time to develop. While robots may soon be able to perform simple tests after the tests have been designed and coded, test design will still be required by the human mind. Furthermore, test automation is currently too costly and requires too much maintenance to fully replace manual testing.

Even the creative sector is not safe from being occupied by robots.

What will we do with our time?

A serious question that is raised by this video is to wonder what the population will do with their time instead of working. It seems like a pretty boring existence without having work to challenge and inspire us. Will new jobs be created that can’t even be fathomed yet? What will happen to the economy if nobody has jobs anymore? Will wealth be distributed?

There are a lot of factors to be considered when contemplating a future engineered purely by robots. While there are plenty of positive attributes, a world without human jobs seems potentially catastrophic. The best outlook for our future will result from making our occupations invaluable to the workplace.