Will robots take over the world one day?
When the possible consequences of today’s innovations are discussed Will robots , the concerns that one day the workforce will be replaced by robots and that people will be unemployed in the future come to the fore, often implicitly and sometimes openly.
The increasing involvement of machines in our lives, especially those that work with artificial intelligence and can use new information at the next stage, thus giving the impression of thinking, is exacerbating these discussions even more.
In fact, the approach that robots will take away people’s jobs is not very new for humanity.Since all the machines that make people’s jobs easier replace the workforce to some extent, every new invention is constantly kept on the agenda by those who earn their living solely by their labor.
The History of “Anti-Machine” Goes Back a Long Way
British worker Ned Ludd, who waged war against machines in England between 1811 and 1816, gave his name to the Luddism (hostility to machines) movement.
Today, similar reactions manifest themselves especially in technological innovations that lead to a decrease in mass employment and are called New Luddism.We cannot consider the overreactions shown in the past to all mechanization and automation practices, which today have almost a full consensus that they are beneficial in the long run and which reduce costs but reduce the demand for labor, as an attitude that belongs to the past.
All innovations that reduce the need for labor have always been met with great reaction by those working in those sectors and at risk of losing their jobs.No one who became unemployed because of technological innovation could say,“I became unemployed, but production costs decreased, as a result, the market price of goods or services decreased, and it was better for my country or for humanity.”We can’t wait for him to say.Those who lose their jobs, although they do not openly attack the machines, tend to indirectly criticize the innovations that caused them to become unemployed.
The mildest manifestation of this is to claim that although machines often perform a more perfect job than humans, their work cannot be of the same quality as humans.Although the reason why “handmade” products are valued is their small number, there is also a reaction against machines.Technological developments that create unemployment greatly erode not only the incomes of those who lose their jobs, but also their social status.
Many products (textiles, furniture, handicrafts, etc.) that are praised for being made by human labor, when produced by machines in a shorter time, more perfectly and in greater quantities, and at a lower cost, in a way devalue the laborers who previously produced them.Imagine the reaction of a copyist who thought he had reproduced all the pages perfectly to the printing machines that replaced him.
Complementary and Substitute Technologies
The history of people having their work done by tools and machines is old.If we define technology as the way and procedure of doing a job and everything that makes it easier to do it, all tools and machines that assist humans in production can be considered as technological products, even though they seem very primitive to us today.
In this context, one of the greatest innovations in human history in terms of its transformative effects is the invention of the plow, which allows the soil to be turned over at a certain depth.The role of the plow in the transition to settled agriculture is equivalent to the role of the steam engine in industrialization or microchips in digitalization.We can talk about two basic effects in human-tool-machine relations: complementary and substitutive.
The complementary effect is that the developed tools or machines help people and make their work easier by taking over some of the work to be done.We can count many tools or machines in this context, from knives to food processors, from brooms to vacuum cleaners, from plows to tractors.Such tools and machines help to carry out the work in a shorter time, with less effort, and even more perfectly and better.
Human labor becomes much more efficient with these tools.This relationship can be considered a complementarity relationship, as no matter how good the tools are, they will only work when combined with human labor.For example, although a tractor replaces the workforce of dozens of workers by doing the work of dozens of workers in a shorter time, faster and better, it is considered complementary because it requires a human to work and perform its job.
However, machines such as driverless tractors or smart home sweeping robots change the situation considerably.These so-called “smart” machines are different from others because they can perform the tasks assigned to them, from start to finish, like a human, without human supervision and intervention, provided that they remain within predefined limits.In this way, the situation where a job is done from start to finish by a machine instead of a human and human power is completely disabled can be called the substitution effect.
In fact, every tool or machine that has a complementary effect provides a partial substitution effect in the context of unit labor, depending on the advantage it provides (for example, doing an hour’s work in 10 minutes).However, it is clear that this situation has significant differences in terms of social consequences compared to innovations that result in complete substitution.These differences arise from the fact that human power is completely pushed out of production.Since the claim of manpower outside of production to get a share from production will disappear, the economic, political and social consequences of this situation will change.
Therefore, what is frightening and frightening for people is the substitution effect of technology, not its complementary effect.In robot technologies where artificial intelligence is used extensively, scenarios that robots equipped with abilities that include reasoning, making inferences and decision-making, which are unique to humans, can completely replace humans not only spread a general social pessimism, but also create uneasiness about the future.
According to the techno-optimist approach, in the future robots will be able to undertake many tasks on their own, which are done by humans today and are thought to require high skills and cannot be delegated to machines.
In this context, let’s try to clarify the issue through various examples.It is stated that the total production volume in the world today is around 150 trillion dollars.On average, the share of the service sector in this amount is around 68%, that of industry is 28%, and that of agriculture is around 4%.23% of the workforce working in this production works in industry, 27% in agriculture and the remaining 50% in the service sector.The average unemployment rate is 5.5%.
In developed countries, the share of both production and employees in the service sector is higher, mechanization in agriculture and industry is quite rapid and giant machines largely replace manpower.Cars, furniture, household goods, kitchen utensils and clothes produced by robots almost without human touch are increasing day by day.Although the number of completely unmanned vehicles is still limited, as artificial intelligence studies progress, many control tasks performed by humans today are gradually being transferred to machines via computers.
The Real Threat is Robots in the Service Sector
Currently, the largest share of employment in economies is in the service sector, so the robotization of the service sector could be very shocking in its consequences.This is what creates real concern among employees.
Because employing proportionally more workforce in agriculture and industry is not among the national goals of any country.In fact, employing fewer people in these areas is an indicator of development for economies.Naturally, the situation that is considered dangerous is the mechanization of the service sector.Let’s review the predictions about what might happen in this situation.moving to machines.
Autonomous Traffic Vehicles
Let’s think about the self-driving (autonomous) vehicles that we often see examples of.It is thought that in an environment where all roads are regulated with sensors, these autopilot vehicles will comply with traffic rules more than people, and therefore rule violations caused by drivers that cause accidents, such as exceeding speed limits, drowsy or drunk driving, and not adhering to the following distance of vehicles, will be reduced to almost zero.
It is estimated that especially companies that do transportation business and need to rent vehicles from the market will show more demand for vehicles with autopilot instead of vehicles with human drivers, even if vehicles with human drivers are on the market.Since driver fees will not be paid for these vehicles, there will be no social security payments arising from this.
In addition, these vehicles will provide versatile advantages such as easier reduction of accident risks, more effective road use that can be adapted to any time of the day depending on the emptiness of the roads, strict compliance with speed limits and fuel savings due to less “stop-and-go”.However, new technologies will be produced for the maintenance of autopilot vehicles and vehicle maintenance stations using them will be built, thus traditional vehicle maintenance services will gradually become history.Autonomous transportation vehicles, which are regularly maintained, will be on the roads, providing support to those who earn their living as drivers and to support them.It will lead to the gradual decline of many job areas that provide service (driving courses, those who deal with the repair and maintenance of vehicles, those who produce accessories specific to drivers and those who work in driver’s rest facilities, etc.).Naturally, this transformation will have a greater and more widespread impact than the transition from horse-drawn carriages to motor cars.
Let’s imagine that robot assistants specialized in human-assisted child, patient or elderly care have entered our lives today.Robot assistants, which perform every job your child needs, on time, without getting bored, tired or late, depending on their age, will probably be in greater demand than today’s human caregivers for many reasons.Because these robot assistants, no more, no less, will only do the tasks defined for them in the stipulated time, and when their work is completed, they will go out of their way by themselves.
Therefore, these robots will quickly replace humans in homes and workplaces when their costs become affordable.A robot tea seller, who will immediately queue you up when you press the relevant button and bring you the coffee of which you have previously determined the consistency, will probably be as good as human tea sellers and will completely put an end to expenses such as wages and insurance premiums.
Robot Nurses and Caregivers
The same goes for robot elderly care nurses.It does not disrupt measurements (fever, blood, sugar, blood pressure, etc.) at any time of the day, is equipped with remote motion sensors and thermometers, makes sudden interventions in unexpected situations through its sensors that closely monitor decreases in non-sleep movements, and provides measurement results objectively and over time. It seems certain that these robot nurses, who evaluate the patient immediately during the day without losing time, can provide medical interventions such as injections and dressings, ensure that medications are taken on time, and are on duty day and night without getting tired, will become an indispensable fixture in hospitals.
Let’s imagine online/robot doctors who evaluate the analysis and measurement results, combine the disease history of the patient and his/her relatives up to that day, compare the responses to treatments of all patients registered in the system with similar symptoms, and evaluate the patient’s condition with an approach updated with the latest scientific publications.Thanks to robot doctors who can answer every question you ask and who will always work tirelessly and with the same vigor, there will be greater convenience and relative equality not only in terms of standard and up-to-date service quality, but also in access to health services compared to today.Hence, patients will largely prefer these online/robot doctors.With healthcare personnel robots, healthcare service supply can expand more than ever before,
Let’s imagine robot judges who can evaluate all kinds of national and international legislation, previous similar practices and jurisprudence in full detail, process very complex statements and documents very quickly, and explain the decisions stipulated by the legislation, down to the most detailed justification, within seconds.These robot judges, who will meticulously and equally apply the conditions for sentence reduction and their application conditions to everyone and make decisions very quickly, may also be preferred in the courts of the future.
Robot Financial Advisors and Accountants
Let’s imagine financial advisors, accountants or investment advisor robots that examine all financial records precisely, mathematically calculate all kinds of risks and offer the most suitable options or make choices for us.
These machines, which calculate the risks and investment options of all kinds of movable and real estate assets, make our payments on time from our bank account on time and without any penalty, monitor our account balance daily and use all our resources efficiently, will also be reliable assistants who do not share our financial secrets with anyone. .
By requiring our biological fingerprint to be scanned for critical instructions, we can prevent anyone other than us from interfering and giving wrong instructions.These assistants, who can easily access all kinds of information that exists in the market and that we can access, calculate the results of regulatory transactions rationally and work full time, are financial advisors, real estate consultants, accountants, insurers, etc.He will be able to do many different jobs at the same time, such as:
We will only program it properly and give the necessary instructions, then we will not interrupt the update, maintenance and repair work from time to time, that’s all!
Let’s imagine robot instructors who are acquainted with the best explanation techniques and whose existing knowledge is loaded gradually and categorized according to interest.They will not only teach the lesson, but also scout for talent and when they encounter an extraordinary intelligence, they will inform the center and ask for a more effective program for it.No talent will be wasted in the hands of a teacher who will overlook its value, and everyone will be educated according to their abilities.What everyone knows and when they learned it will be tracked throughout their lives, thus keeping an objective and reliable learning history.Even the dream is beautiful…
Based on these five future predictions, we can say the following about how innovations will affect the future employment situation;Innovations in the way things are done will surely continue in the future.There are uncertainties as to how much of these innovations will take place in which areas (sectors).
In the future, there will definitely be a wage or other income system that will create purchasing power for people and therefore a market for products.Without such a system, there would be no point in increasing production.The good news is that all goods produced will be designed to give a certain right of consumption to individuals who are members of the economic system in which production occurs, even if they can be produced with an average of two hours of labor per day or two days of labor per month.
What will ensure this is the rule that is based on the expectation that democracy will not be compromised and gives each individual the right to vote.A method of distributing the increase in production resulting from technological efficiency among people will definitely be developed.
We can say that not only economic factors will be effective in the distribution of production among individuals, but also rising political and cultural values will play an important role in the design of these new systems.
Good news for those who want to be pessimistic: Once there is sufficient demand to purchase goods and services, we have no basis to say that this demand will lead to a system that guarantees a reasonable wage or income to everyone.Probably pessimistic developments will play a role in the course of income distribution again, as in the last 100 years.As a final word, we can say this: Let’s not be pessimistic and let’s not forget that nothing can replace human values.