Featured Science & Technology

Five new jobs for humans if robots take over the world

Hector Gonzalez-Jimenez, University of York

By now you’ve probably heard how robots are going to take over our jobs. And how this will leave future generations with plenty of time on their hands to take up hobbies and pursue creative interests. All while our robot friends spend their days doing the lion’s share of the work needed to make the world run.

A lot of this is indeed true, robots probably will take over a significant share of labour in some industries – meaning that not too far in the distant future your waiter, taxi driver or even the person on the other end of the phone trying to sell you something could well be a robot.

But while robots taking over our jobs could be a cause of concern for people in these professions, the fact of the matter is that the growth of the robotics industry will also help to revitalise the job market – helping to create numerous new roles and positions that haven’t even been invented yet.

As a researcher, I am especially interested in the consumer robots market, which is expected to be worth US$33 billion by 2025. My current job – pre-robot takeover – is to understand the relationship between humans and robots and its implications on consumption. This basically means my research explores the acceptance and potential rapport humans (may) develop with so-called “social robots” – these are the ones that interact and communicate directly with humans.

I also look at how these relationships affect various markets and the new business avenues and jobs that will be created. The bottom line is that the future job market will not be without challenges, but as so often in history, humans will adapt and make use of the new opportunities. And here are five new jobs that will (probably) be created for humans when robots take over the world.

1. Robot singing teacher

There will be companies focused on the development of software and applications for robots that go well beyond the standard factory functions. This may include add-on singing and dance functions, or language functions, or cooking functions – and the reality of this isn’t even that far off. Softbank’s social robot Pepper – which has been a massive hit in the US and is already in use in the UK – can already sing and perform various dance moves to entertain its owner.

Off the back of this need for additional functionality, there will be a new job market created for humans to develop software and hardware which enables these robots to reach more sophisticated performance levels.

Next stop, X Factor.

2. Robot plastic surgeon

Of course all good robots will need to be personalised, so chances are companies will pop up which allow people to update their personal robots by adding stronger limbs or faster processors.

Humans already engage in many forms of physical enhancement by exercising, using make up, or in more extreme cases, through plastic surgery. And as humans develop stronger bonds with their social robots, there will be an increased demand for companies that provide customisation options to robots.

In this way Bluefrogrobotics’ new social robot “Buddy” already offers this option – it comes with the promise of continuous upgrade options to keep the user experience as exciting and satisfying as possible.

Time for an upgrade?