Hit TV show Humans recently returned to Channel 4 with an alternative reality where robots are already embedded within society.
Meanwhile, Westworld on Sky revives the concept of an android theme park gone wrong. Now Amazon has unveiled Amazon Go, an innovation that could completely do away with supermarket check out staff. Shoppers can collect products and walk out of the door, with their mobile phones keeping track of purchases and paying.
Whatever the truth, robots are going to play an increasing role in the workplace. Giving kids career advice has always been tough. Our experiences at school and work are vastly different to what theirs will be. Job for life? Pah.
Whereas we faced on the onset of digital technology, decimating many industries, including my own, our kids face a future where robots are going to be taking on many manual opportunities.
So here are some things you should be careful about recommending and one or two things you’ll be relieved they’ll not be able to do!
1. DRIVE: The age of the driverless car is already upon us, with companies like Apple, Google and Ford developing vehicles that will be commonly seen on the road in the next few years. That means poor prospects for cabbies, delivery drivers and truckers.
2. JOURNALISM: There will always be the need for a human touch in conducting a kiss and tell exclusive, but some journalism is already being automated. Financial results, football scores and election outcomes are stories that will soon be told by our special correspondent Anne Droid.
3. SUPERMARKET CHECKOUT ASSISTANT: Blip, blip… Chuffing blip! We’ve already been programmed to do our own supermarket checking out stuff and nonsense. Even that grumpy woman who tells us off when we put our “unexpected items in the bagging area” doesn’t deter us from buying our milk and veg. Thankfully, this will be short lived. Amazon Go means there will be no need to stop, scan and pay. Soon Amazon bots will do all the ‘shopping’, and their driver bot pals will drop it off.
4. ADULT SERVICES: OK, not really a serious careers option this one, although it does provide employment for an estimated 70,000 people, earning an average of £2,000 per week. The lovebot, as illustrated by the brilliant TV series, Humans, pictured, could change all that and sooner than you think. Incredibly lifelike robots are already being built with all the right bits and pieces that could take over the task. According to this Vice article, RealDoll is close to building a version with AI too. Use your imagination, but they work for both ladies and men.
5. PILOT: Not quite a robot, although you could argue that drones are robotic flying machines. Their proliferation in recent years heralds a future in which aircraft will be controlled remotely, particularly where there’s risk to life and limb. It’s already the case in war zones. Artificial Intelligence (AI) means the same could soon be said of holiday jets. Much better than being the human who has to contend with the Friday night Benidorm flight, but that’s another story.
6. POSTAL WORKERS: Letter writing is already in decline in the age of email. Parcels are on the up in the age of home delivery but driverless trucks, drone doorstep drops and neighbourhood distribution points could soon end what’s left of the postal service.
7. ACCOUNTANCY: Professional services are another thing that is heading to the cloud, with online self assessment demonstrating the kinds of things that a software package stationed on some central server might achieve. That’s why there’s more importance than ever before in delivering brilliant customer service and expert knowledge. Robots will never be able to make a good brew or advise you spend some of your income on a fancy tax deductible.
9. SOLDIERING: A little like policing this one, and preferable in my opinion to a career on the frontline. However, future wars will largely be fought in cyberspace. At least that means no Terminator.
Which leaves… Building robots!
Well someone will have to do it, won’t they?