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Building a future business by knowing and understanding my nature

By Richard Gray 23 May 2017 With soft, nimble fingers, an arm stretches out to delicately pluck an apple from a shelf and place it gently into a basket. Grand Challenges In this special series, Future Now takes a close look at the biggest, most important issues we face in the 21st Century.

For two months, we'll bring you insight from leading scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs and influencers to help you make sense of the challenges we face in today's rapidly evolving world. It performs the task again with a bag of limes and again with a pepper, never tiring, never complaining.

This is a prototype robotic arm being tested by Ocadothe British online supermarket. But the company is pursuing robotic technology that could assist these human warehouse workers but still handle produce safely, making the process faster and cheaper for the company. Ocado is far from the only company pursuing automated workers. It is happening in hospitalslaw firmsthe stock market.

The list goes on. The question is… how does this affect the human workforce? How might it affect you? We hear a lot about doom-and-gloom surrounding robots stealing our jobs, but what will actually happen?

We tackle another classic this week. Being genuine – and understanding the question – is key.

The answers might surprise you. But machines stealing jobs is not new. Chowdhry points to the shifts that took place in factories during the industrial revolution when automatic looms and other machines took over from human weavers. Those in the firing line are understandably worried.

The key challenge will be to make sure that those who experience displacement will find something meaningful to do. Future-proofing your job The answer may go beyond just the companies — it may need to start in school.

  • And that's just one piece of furniture;
  • And that's just one piece of furniture;
  • This will mean that most of us will probably be able to cling onto our jobs, but the way we do them is going to change significantly.

The way we currently structure education may no longer be fit for purpose in a world where technology is changing so rapidly. The concern is that we are not updating our education, training and political institutions to keep up In the workplace, employees will also continually require new sets of skills rather than using the same ones over their entire career that could just go obsolete anyway.

The reason — our jobs are simply too varied and changeable for robots to take on all the tasks. This will mean that most of us will probably be able to cling onto our jobs, but the way we do them is going to change significantly. Robots will complement you, not replace you Learning how to work alongside robots could be essential, too.

It could also mean more people could do that job aided by the technology, so there is more competition. With lower incomes and potential unemployment looming for middle-income workers, governments themselves could face some fundamental problems, like lost taxes and dissatisfied voting classes. One good example of this comes from some work by researchers in Singapore, who are attempting to teach two autonomous robotic arms to assemble a flat-packed Ikea chair. Despite using some of the most advanced equipment around, the machines struggle with the most basic tasks.

  1. In terms of specifics, there should be a lot a new job will bring you. This might be fine if we want to find CT scans that show signs of disease, for example, but if we use a similar system to identify a suspect from a fragment of CCTV footage, knowing how it did this may be crucial when presenting the evidence to a jury.
  2. As that number grows, and the roles they perform expand, the likelier humans are to work hand in hand with robots, side by side — increasing the risk of harm. Despite their apparent intelligence, most robots are still pretty dumb contraptions when compared to our own capabilities.
  3. They can then use this to spot similar patterns when they are given new data.
  4. If we can hand the tedious, repetitive bits of our jobs to machines then it could free us up to some of the things we actually enjoy.

Even identifying different objects from a chaotic mixture of parts is a major challenge for robots. In a recent test, it took the two robots more than a minute and half to successful insert a piece of dowelling into one of the chair legs. And that's just one piece of furniture. We manage teams and so on.

  • The way we currently structure education may no longer be fit for purpose in a world where technology is changing so rapidly;
  • Show how you care about them, and why they should care about you;
  • Computers are good at grinding down problems and performing repetitive tasks without getting bored;
  • The concern is that we are not updating our education, training and political institutions to keep up In the workplace, employees will also continually require new sets of skills rather than using the same ones over their entire career that could just go obsolete anyway;
  • Your launch last year of [medicine] was particularly interesting for me because, as you know, my degree was in the same area and I used fairly similar science for my thesis.

It is almost inconceivable that computers will intrude upon human workers who do that. Computers are good at grinding down problems and performing repetitive tasks without getting bored.

A blog from Naturejobs

Humans, however, find this kind of monotonous work tedious. The challenge is how we pay for and value creative output, or other tasks we are not willing to let machines do.

One of the projects Ocado is working on with universities around Europe is a robotic assistant for maintenance work called SecondHands, which illustrates how humans and robots might collaborate. The ethics problem Around 1. As that number grows, and the roles they perform expand, the likelier humans are to work hand in hand with robots, side by side — increasing the risk of harm. She recently led an effort in the parliament to push for rules on robotics and artificial intelligence.

A report compiled for the European Parliament stressed there was urgent need for new legislation on liability should accidents happen. Similar issues of liability arise should a robot take actions that break the law. An AI algorithm, for example, could choose to make a series of financial transactions that achieve its goals, but lie outside the tangled web of regulations that govern the sector.

Delvaux and her colleagues also called for a Code of Ethics to help guide our relationship with robots. This perhaps also highlights another issue troubling many dealing with artificial intelligence — the problem of bias. Machine learning systems are only as good as the data they are given to learn on, and recent studies have suggested artificial intelligence can develop sexist and racist tendencies.

Delvaux also points to the people who are writing the algorithms in the first place. Silicon Valley has been rocked over the past couple of years with scandals about sex discrimination.

How automation will affect you – the experts’ view

It has raised fears that robots and machines could display similar discriminatory behaviour. Others have suggested as robots take on more tasks, there could be a growing case for universal basic incomewhere everyone receives state benefits.

Much of this, of course, assumes that robots are actually capable of doing the jobs we set them. Despite their apparent intelligence, most robots are still pretty dumb contraptions when compared to our own capabilities.

Machines have a ways to go Like the Ikea example, AI leaves a lot of room for improvement.

What they’re getting from you

Perhaps one of the greatest issues facing the machine learning and artificial intelligence community currently is understanding how their algorithms work. Machine learning systems and modern AI are usually trained using large sets of images or data that are fed in to allow them to recognise patterns and trends.

They can then use this to spot similar patterns when they are given new data. This might be fine if we want to find CT scans that show signs of disease, for example, but if we use a similar system to identify a suspect from a fragment of CCTV footage, knowing how it did this may be crucial when presenting the evidence to a jury.

Even in the field of autonomous vehicles, this ability to generalise remains a considerable challenge. Takeo Kanade, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, is one of the pioneers of self-driving vehicles and an expert in computer vision. For example, is that person actually going to cross the road in front of them, or not? The team programmed the robot, called Betty, to trundle around the offices monitoring for clutter building up, checking whether fire doors were closed, measuring noise and counting workers at their desks outside normal hours.

Surprisingly, those working alongside Betty actually responded to their mechanical worker building a future business by knowing and understanding my nature a positive way, even coming to its aid if the robot ever got stuck in a corner. If we can hand the tedious, repetitive bits of our jobs to machines then it could free us up to some of the things we actually enjoy.

It is a tantalising thought, that just perhaps, the rise of the machines could make our jobs a lot more human.