With Philip Hammond designating £500m to Artificial Intelligence is it surprising that we are all asking the question about how long it will be before Robots take over our jobs.
According to Stephen Hawking – Artificial Intelligence is imminent and says:
‘The outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.’
I think we all know this to be true, and I am not sure if it is comforting or worrying to know that Britain is way behind the US, France, Germany and Spain in the development of Artificial Intelligence.
But it is still predicted that four million jobs in the British private sector could be replaced by robots in the next decade.
Jobs in finance, accounting, transport, marketing and advertising are predicted to be run by machines within a few years, whereas jobs in the health and care sectors are more secure, still needing the human element.
The University of Oxford predicted 35% of jobs could be rendered obsolete by new technology, while the Bank of England predicted in 2015 that up to 15m jobs in Britain were at risk from robots “hollowing out” the workforce.
Asda for instance operates a fully automated distribution warehouse in West London; white-collar tasks are being automated by PwC, the accountancy firm, and Linklaters, the law firm, which have been developing software robots that use artificial intelligence to learn to do research tasks usually undertaken by junior accountants and lawyers. So there we have it.
But is there an up-side to this, and some people think there is, with the doomsters being overshadowed by the optimists who feel that the introduction of robots may increase the element of human contact in some cases.
Care homes for instance are testing the abilities of robots. One in Lincoln plans to use one to help residents remember daily necessities such as taking medication. The robot will also oversee the set tasks that a nurse would.
A care company in London, Three Sisters Home Care, will soon trial the use of robots for lifting people so only one care worker will be needed rather than two.
‘Three Sisters’ chief executive, Jobeda Ali, told the researchers: “If I don’t have to send a person to do a transfer job [lifting], I can send them to have a cup of tea and a chat. This is a much better use of their time than carrying patients or cooking meals.”
There is also an argument that the elimination of mundane jobs that can easily be performed by Robots, will inspire and give space to the creation of more human centric opportunities where individuals can utilise their more ‘touchy feely’ abilities, and enhance the human element in jobs. If only this were to be true, but we should perhaps hang onto that for fear of damaging our already gloomy outlook on job and wealth distribution.
There should certainly be some ethical guidelines in place as robotic job descriptions are created, to allow for the element of human intervention so that all is not lost for the human job force.
Got to hold my hands up – I am the first to admit that in spite of being University educated, feminist indoctrinated and a full supporter of women in careers, I am still a smidgeon judgemental where females in men’s roles are concerned.
The other day when I was picking the little ones up from school, a really petite lady was dressed in a duffle coat and woollen hat pressed firmly on her head. ‘Are you the new teacher? The words tripped out of me. She looked at me perplexed and said ‘no, I am the new head of security’. She then went on to say that her husband had been made redundant the year before and they had made a joint decision that she would find a job with flexi hours so that he could stay at home and look after the kids and that she could work the hours they needed to earn sufficient money and spend time with the family. Added to that she said she was really enjoying the role and was thinking of starting her own Security Company.
More and more women are taking on what were previously deemed male roles across varied fields of the job arena, from Engineering, Construction, Boxing, Building and a host of other areas of employment.
Equal pay and equality in the workplace is another issue we are constantly reading about in the press and addressing at Glotime, but as more and more women compete with men and succeed in acquiring jobs where the majority of candidates are male, it is a major step forward.
I recently attended a course in Women in the Workplace and spotted a rather trendy attractive lady with multi-coloured hair, who was part of the attendees. I chatted with her in the break, and discovered that one of their kids had become sick and they had to make a major decision as a family for her husband to stay at home and look after the kids, as she was the main breadwinner. The multi-coloured hair was an experiment her five year old daughter had tried out on her the evening before with a variety of coloured hair sprays, because this lady was great at multi-tasking. She was actually a senior Partner in a law firm and really had her soldiers in place where female equality was concerned.
I am also finding in men’s defence, that many males are incredible supporters of female equality in the workplace with a recent meeting with a CEO of a major oil company in the States, who said that their first Recruitment ad in the fifties stated that ‘it didn’t matter what colour, creed or gender as long as they could do the job’. In our squeaky clean Politically Correct World of today, this would now be frowned upon and deemed prejudice, but back in the day was actually really progressive, and he felt the reason the Company had succeeded and become one of the most successful in the World, turning over Billions of Dollars.
So if you or your offspring are thinking of changing jobs or going into a career carrying more of a male label, then follow your dream – after all it is you who has to do it, and if you love your job you are really home and dry.
We have all heard about Global warming, but not everyone is clued up about the cause and effect of the potential devastation of our Planet. It is a subject that many of us just don’t take seriously, even shy away from, and I for one am a culprit of burying my head in the sand, excuse the pun, and you will see why.
Some time ago I sat next to a Global Warming expert on a flight to Paris who was on his way to address an audience on the subject of climate change. I was embarrassed to have very little knowledge of this emotive subject, and as he spoke I became so passionate about it I vowed to spread the word, in spite of the resistance of so many people to take action or even take it seriously. It was as if someone had switched on the light and I was suddenly able to see the bigger picture so clearly.
As you know, Global warming or climate change is the slow rise in the Earth’s climate which can be measured from the mid 19th century, when scientists began to monitor and observe the gradual rise in the Earth’s temperature.
Scientists are leaning heavily on human negligence as being the main cause of this problematic issue, with the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. With all of these concerns, it is predicted that global surface temperatures are likely to rise rapidly unless drastic measures are taken by governments and individuals. Yes, each and every one of us must take responsibility for preserving our planet, if not for ourselves but for our children. We can’t just sit back and let our governments and scientists sort it out, we have to act now and do something ourselves.
Scientists are fighting to be heard as global warming cynics like Trump have had such a negative attitude to climate change, calling it a fad and ‘fake news’. Strange because Trump himself is the biggest culprit of misinformation, and the US alongside China are the biggest culprits of carbon emission.
Throughout his time in the White House, President Obama outlined a national climate action plan that focuses on several specific ways to reduce emissions, but with the reticence of the Republicans at the moment it is impossible to say where this will go. But California and some areas of the North East are still addressing the problem and taking it very seriously.
For those of you who are not clear how the climate change will affect our planet, sea beds will rise and glaciers will melt, deserts will expand and certain species become extinct. Our own lives will be at risk with the threat to the crops with extreme weather such as droughts, floods, heat waves and heavy snow falls.
But there is some good news and public awareness on the subject is rapidly rising as are the concerns of its effects, with most countries considering it a very serious problem which should be immediately addressed.
So how do we individually tackle and address the problem of Global Warming. Getting up to speed with the international summits and being well informed is the best way to tackle any problem – facing it head on. Then we all know which way we are heading and can take action and do something about it.
Watch out for climate change conventions, news bulletins and government announcements – get in the zone and act on every bit of information as fast as you can. Think of ourselves as being on ‘red alert’, and that time is running out for us to take action, as if we let it go on for too long, we will do irretrievable damage to our Planet. Make a concerted effort to spread the word and educate those who are reluctant to take it on board, dismissing it as someone else’s problem – knowledge is power, and the future of the planet is in our hands.
February 27, 2021 274 Constantine the Great 1807 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1902 John Steinbeck 1930 Joanne Woodward 1932 Dame Elizabeth Taylor 1939 Dame Antoinette Sibley 1941 Lord (Paddy) Ashdown 1950 Rabbi Julia Neuberger 1957 Timothy Spall
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