Automation

 

Automated robots can work 24/7, 365 days a year.

Almost 250,000 public sector workers could lose their jobs to robots over the next 15 years, according to a new report by MIT, which claims machines would be more efficient and save billions of dollars.

Reform, a right-of-centre think tank, says websites and artificial intelligence "chat bots" could replace up to 90% of Whitehall's administrators, as well as tens of thousands of GPs' surgeries, by 2030 - saving as much as (AUD) $9 Billion a year.

Robotic workers will impact every service based and manufacturing industry. Even nurses and doctors could fall victim to the march of the machines, which the MIT report says can outperform humans at some diagnoses and routine surgical procedures, and are more efficient at collecting information.

 A humanoid robot works with employees on an assembly line at a factory of Glory Ltd.

A humanoid robot works with employees on an assembly line at a factory of Glory Ltd.

 A human worker and humanoid robot working on the same assembly line.

A human worker and humanoid robot working on the same assembly line.

The MIT report argues that public services should become more flexible by embracing a gig economy where workers support themselves through a variety of flexible jobs acquired through online platforms. Public services can become the next Uber, using the gig economy to employ locum doctors and supply teachers. Few complex roles, it suggests, will be able to resist the move towards automation, with the aim that public services will eventually become "diamond-shaped", as both frontline and strategic roles are replaced by computers.

Only 20% of public-sector workers hold strategic, 'cognitive' roles versus robotic machines who will use advanced data analytics to identify patterns, improve decision-making and allocate an efficient workforce.

Technology signals a change for companies to relook at the value of robotics versus human capacity and capabilities. It’s not always a clean cut answer and there is much to consider.

 
Deryll Naidoo