Someday when the technology (supercomputers and Artificial Intelligence) reaches its peak, some roles that were used to be performed by humans could be taken over by AI or robots. This list doesn’t intend to frighten people currently holding these jobs but only to inform what could be possible if we reach the time of super-intelligent robots and computers as predicted or calculated by Moore’s law.
Couriers are the frontline of logistics. They retrieve and deliver goods from the warehouse to the wholesalers or customers. They also refer to delivery riders that bring goods ordered by those using an online store or app. The advances in drone technology (cameras, radio-control, wifi and rotors) made aerial delivery possible. On top of that, autonomous vehicles perform courier roles. Here are the instances:
- Amazon delivery robots - These machines have been already deployed in Irvine, California. Humans still accompany these robots in case of trouble.
- Rakuten and Yamato tested delivery robots - The two companies tested the cute delivery robots (having like human eyes) if they are efficient enough to deliver parcels.
- Domino’s pizza delivery robot - The fast-food chain is getting closer to the delivery of pizzas.
While drones and robots replacing couriers sounds cool, they could still be limited to technologically advanced countries and might not completely replace humans for the following reasons:
- Human oversight is needed.
- Things could still go wrong while the machine is on the way to delivery. Unforeseen circumstances include thieves and bad weather. Drones carrying pizzas can be attacked by eagles and owls.
At the frontlines of hotels, resorts and restaurants, waiters carry out tasks - customer service, upsell food, take orders and deliver food. In Japan, a cafe is run by robots controlled by people with disabilities. These robots can talk to customers, carry food or drinks and take orders. The PWDs control the machines remotely via the internet, wi-fi and another radio device. The robots can give disabled people an opportunity to earn wages even if they are homebound or lacking their arms or legs. Here’s another video of the said wait staff androids.
Masons or bricklayers comprise the essential part of the construction team. Being tedious and quite repetitive, the role could fall into the hands of the next robot applicant. According to an article, Bricklayer SAM (Semi-automated mason) 100 can lay 800 to 1,200 bricks a day compared to man’s 300 to 500. The robot uses sensors and lasers to measure the orientation, speed and angle of bricklaying. But experts agree that robot masons won’t completely replace humans because:
- SAM 100's role is to leverage and enhance human masons’ work.
- Human oversight is needed.
- Skilled human workers can lay bricks, deal with aesthetics and tricky spots and remove excess mortars.
- Masons can adapt to differences between theoretical and actual building specifications on site.
Watching and guarding hundreds to thousands of prisoners can be tedious and dangerous if riots break out or if one the jailbird conceals a deadly weapon. Robot prison guards to the rescue. One such autonomous guard is already at work in South Korea. Tagged cells guide the robot to detect risky behaviours such as suicide and violence. This four-wheeled robot could be confined in rich countries because it costs nearly $300,000 which developing countries can’t afford since they could run squalid and cramped prisons.
In any hotel, resorts, malls, and office towers, you’ll be greeted by a smiling receptionist or concierge. A report from the Business Insider showed Furhat Robotics’ social-robot built with a human-like face. Features include:
The head and shoulder automaton weighs 3.5 kg, capable of mimicking human facial expressions and 3-degree head-turning. Users can change the face to any animal or human faces that differ in ethnicity and gender. Disassembled, the robot shows two speakers, a wide-angle camera for tracking movements and external microphones. The robot bust can also show emotions by changing the color of its base.
What if our traditional farmers could be replaced by robot farmers? Soon there could be robot scarecrows. Advances in agrotechnology have already made autonomous machines that run on artificial intelligence, sensors and manipulation tools. The Berne University of Applied Sciences is currently developing a field robot that can sow and fertilize fields. Makoto Koike, a Japanese engineer, invented a cucumber sorter powered by Google’s TensorFlow. His machine can sort the cucumbers based on color, freshness, shape, texture and scratches through image recognition.
During the 1980s and 1990s, postmen tackled numerous tasks of sorting, storing and sending letters and documents. In the future, robots may be vying for this job. Carmaker Ford tested a robot postman, a two-legged and autonomous delivery robot that can carry packages that weigh up to 18kg. The limit? It can only bring packages from a delivery van to your doorstep.
Another robot is Atlas by Boston Dynamics. The anthropomorphic robot can walk like a human, avoid obstacles using a LiDAR and move with flexibility using 28 hydraulic joints.