Will Covid-19 speed up the use of robots to replace human workers?
STEM lessons are extremely important for students as they prepare to enter the 21st-century workforce. Through robotics, students can learn more than just how to code. They can learn skills in leadership, community involvement, communicating across different technology platforms, finding their passions, and teamwork, which will position them for success well beyond their school years.
1. Robot as a cleaner
As the demand for companies that make cleaning and sanitizing products soar, the Danish manufacture of ultraviolet-light-disinfection robots, shipped hundreds of its machines to hospitals in China and Europe. Experts say as more businesses re-open we can expect to see further adoption of this technology – you may see robots cleaning your schools or offices. Customers now care more about their safety and the safety and health of workers. Moves towards automation can keep them all healthier and customers will reward companies that do this. There are still limitations. Ms Morgan points out that automated checkouts at groceries should reduce human interactions but because many systems don’t work well or break easily customers avoid them and go to human cashiers instead.
2. Help with social distancing
Food service is another area where the use of robots is likely to increase because of health concerns. Fast-food chains like McDonald’s have been testing robots as cooks and servers. In warehouses, like those operated by Amazon and Walmart, robots were already used to improve efficiency. The Covid-19 outbreak has both companies looking to increase the use of robots for sorting, shipping and packing. This may reduce the number of complaints by warehouse workers who say they cannot social-distance from their colleagues under the current conditions. But, according to technology experts, it would put some of them out of work.
3. AI that’s as real as humans
Artificial intelligence is being developed that can replace school tutors, fitness trainers and financial advisers. Big tech companies are expanding the use of artificial intelligence. Both Facebook and Google are relying on AI to remove more inappropriate posts since the companies’ human content moderators can’t review certain things from home. Robot sceptics had believed humans would have an edge in those jobs. That could be changing as lock downs have made humans more comfortable with the idea of connecting remotely. The instructor or adviser on the screen doesn’t need to be a real person; it just needs to think and acts like one. A 2017 report by global consultants McKinsey predicted a third of workers in the US would be replaced by automation and robots by 2030.