By 2025, technology may have changed a lot of things. Robots could be quite prevalent, as we are already seeing signs that they’re taking some jobs in factories. So will people have more leisure time and more money because robot labor will cause prices to go down? Or will there be widespread unemployment and a rapidly widening income gap as humans virtually cease to interact with each other? Or perhaps, not much will change at all.
How will robots affect the workplace?
If only we had a crystal ball to gaze into the future, but we don’t. The Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center released a survey on robots and artificial intelligence today. According to the Associated Press (via The Washington Post), “experts” are split on what will be the norm 11 years from now. Researchers polled almost 1,900 “experts and other respondents.”
Of those who took part in the poll, 48% said that robots will actually take away more jobs than they create. On the other hand, 52% said the technology involved in building and having robots will make more jobs than it eliminates.
Can robots replace humans?
Survey participants were also asked to talk about what they expected of jobs in the next ten years. Some said they think self-driving cars will make cab drivers and long-haul truck drivers obsolete. Others said the wealthy may live off on their own, using robots as labor and having little contact with the rest of the world. Still others said it’s common for people to expect technology to move more quickly than it does and that humans could not be replaced so easily.
For example, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) researcher Jonathan Grudin said that four decades ago, people believed that advances in computing would eliminate the need for programmers. He added that 11 years just isn’t enough time for huge changes to occur.
While technology did eliminate some secretarial and phone operator positions, it did create new jobs like those in the field of Web marketing.
Robot survey results especially split
Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Center said it’s unusual for the results of a survey like this one to be so divided. He said in similar surveys about the Internet which they took in the last 12 years, most people seemed to think about the same way.
One thing participants did agree on in this most recent survey is that the education system isn’t teaching students what they need to know for the future. Some participants said the system is still teaching too much memorization and not enough creativity, a sort of “Henry Ford education for a Mark Zuckerberg economy.”