China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

Ex­perts say that the more repet­i­tive a job is, the more likely it is to be done by robots. Skills re­quired in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors are rel­a­tively low and repet­i­tive. In most fac­to­ries, work­ers could be re­placed by robots be­cause they are re­peat­ing only one or two ac­tions ev­ery day.

While China is at the cross­roads of up­grad­ing la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries for higher prof­its and ef­fi­ciency, robots are the per­fect choice for fac­tory own­ers to re­place hu­mans, whose salaries have been ris­ing in re­cent years.

Zhang Ruimin, CEO of China’s lead­ing home ap­pli­ance company Haier Group, said that the company cut 16,000 staff last year. Among them, more than 6,000 were man­u­fac­tur­ing work­ers re­placed by robots.

“The robots can guar­an­tee a long-time sin­gle-stan­dard rep­e­ti­tion of work, which is im­pos­si­ble for hu­mans,” he said.

And more im­por­tantly, robots will not es­tab­lish a union and go on strike for more pay or less hours.

Us­ing com­put­ers, print­ing, copy and fax ma­chines, it seems that robots could eas­ily re­place cler­i­cal work­ers. You can imag­ine robots han­dling all the pa­per work for their bosses.

An­drew An­der­son, CEO of UK ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence company Ce­la­ton, said that cler­i­cal work will be done by robots within five years.

An­der­son said that ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence could carry out la­bor-in­ten­sive cler­i­cal tasks quickly and au­to­mat­i­cally, while the lat­est mod­els are also ca­pa­ble of mak­ing de­ci­sions that would tra­di­tion­ally be made by hu­mans.

He said that AI could read and un­der­stand the mean­ing of en­tire doc­u­ments by learn­ing the pat­terns of words and phrases in con­text. It’s this abil­ity to learn that is re­duc­ing the need for cler­i­cal­work­ers to carry out th­ese repet­i­tive tasks.

Restau­rant own­ers all share the same headaches - cus­tomers com­plain­ing about er­rors made by wait­ers in tak­ing their or­ders, slow ser­vice be­cause the wait­ers are too busy, and the high cost of hir­ing staff.

Th­ese prob­lems sim­ply will not hap­pen with robots. They are de­signed to pro­vide ser­vices strictly ac­cord­ing to the or­ders they have re­ceived and will never com­plain about be­ing ex­hausted.

In a ro­bot restau­rant in­Harbin, 20 robots are in charge of all the restau­rant’s var­i­ous ser­vices. There are de­liv­ery robots, noo­dle-mak­ing robots and even en­ter­tain­ing robots.

When a cus­tomer en­ters the restau­rant, the usher ro­bot will stretch out its ma­chine arms and say wel­come.

In the United States, a bar­tend­ing ro­bot is de­signed to make cock­tails ac­cord­ing to their cus­tomers’ mood.

Of course, be­fore the in­tel­li­gence of robots is de­vel­oped so they can com­mu­ni­cate, cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence of robot­wait­ing might not be as good

as hu­man wait­ers/wait­resses.

Almost ev­ery­one has the ex­pe­ri­ence of call­ing a company— be it bank, air­line, or telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion sup­plier — and hav­ing to wait for some­one to an­swer the phone while lis­ten­ing to the same piece of mu­sic over and over again.

There are still prob­lems even after some­one has fi­nally an­swered the phone. They might not be able to an­swer your ques­tions or they are sim­ply slow to re­spond. All th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences drive cus­tomers crazy.

With the grow­ing num­ber of clients for such com­pa­nies and lack of cus­tomer ser­vice staff to han­dle in­com­ing calls, robots might be the an­swer.

In 2008, Xiaoi ro­bot was put into op­er­a­tion by China Mo­bile in Jiangsu. The ro­bot is able to an­swer ques­tions from clients via web pages, text mes­sages and other chan­nels.

The web page ver­sion of Xiaoi an­swers more than 40,000 clients a day, sav­ing 80,000 yuan in salaries.

The ro­bot is also ca­pa­ble of re­ceiv­ing voice com­mands. How­ever, deal­ing with the count­less di­alects Chi­nese peo­ple speak is a tough task for th­ese robots.

Most peo­ple be­lieve that be­ing a lawyer is a se­cure job be­cause it takes years of study to be­come a qual­i­fied lawyer.

Dur­ingthe years of study, the lawyers-to-be mem­o­rize a large amount of reg­u­la­tions and an­a­lyze cases in or­der to pre­pare them­selves with oth­ers’ knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence.

How­ever, what if there are robots that are de­signed to look for data, doc­u­ments and reg­u­la­tions faster and more ac­cu­rately than hu­man be­ings? More­over, what if the robots can pre­dict the odds of win­ning a case be­fore the client spends a lot of money hir­ing a lawyer?

There is al­ready a ro­bot that can re­place part of a lawyer’s job. In 2011, Black­stone Dis­cov­ery from the United States started to pro­vide a doc­u­ment anal­y­sis ser­vice to its clients. The ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is ca­pa­ble of an­a­lyz­ing 1.5 mil­lion doc­u­ments within sev­eral days. The cost of us­ing such AI is less than one tenth of hir­ing a real lawyer. And lawyers make mis­takes, robots don’t.

Clean­ing robots like Roomba and Scooba are al­ready fa­mous. Their in­tel­li­gence in clean­ing a cer­tain area and au­to­mat­i­cally find­ing the right place to recharge them­selves saves hu­mans a great deal of ef­fort.

In China, we hear sad news about street clean­ers be­ing hit by cars ev­ery year. That wouldn’t be a prob­lem if robots re­placed th­ese clean­ers for their more dan­ger­ous jobs. They can be pro­grammed to stay away from a mov­ing car. This is also the case for re­plac­ing peo­ple for clean­ing the out­side walls and win­dows of tall build­ings.

A ro­bot de­signed by Harbin In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy can climb up to 70 me­ters within seconds and move hor­i­zon­tally at a speed of 10 me­ters a minute. It is also ca­pa­ble of mov­ing on curved sur­faces and gut­ters.

By mov­ing up and down at high speed, the ro­bot can re­place the work­load of at least four hu­man clean­ers.

Yes, read­ers might be read­ing a piece of news writ­ten by robots. With a set of pro­grams, robots are able to an­a­lyze data, pick key words and draw a con­clu­sion. They can then com­bine the el­e­ments into sim­ple words.

For data anal­y­sis-based news such as fi­nan­cial re­ports and sports re­ports, robots are more ef­fi­cient than real jour­nal­ists. And, of course, they are much lower-paid.

As­so­ci­ated Press started to use ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence soft­ware to write fi­nan­cial state­ment re­ports in July. The soft­ware can save 90 per­cent of writ­ing time soAP­can guar­an­tee an im­me­di­ate re­lease of th­ese re­ports. AP also uses soft­ware to an­a­lyze sports rank­ings and game re­sults.

It is bad news for fi­nan­cial

The highly-re­spected of sur­geon also re­place­ment by robots.

A re­duc­tion in post-surgery pain is one re­mark­able ben­e­fit of the ro­botic sur­geons. The ma­chine’s arms bend and ro­tate at greater de­grees than a hu­man wrist, which makes its move­ments more pre­cise and takes pres­sure off the pa­tient’s body.

Robots first car­ried out surgery in 1993. In 2010, China ap­proved the use of the da Vinci sur­gi­cal sys­tem for op­er­at­ing the­atres.

By the end of last year, a to­tal of 3,079 da Vinci robots were op­er­at­ing around the world. China has 28 of them.

On Dec 8, Zhe­jiang Peo­ple’s Hos­pi­tal used the da Vinci pro­fes­sion faces ro­bot tore­movea­tu­mor­froma pa­tient from Mali. The ro­bot has four arms and one en­do­scope sys­tem that can move 360 de­grees inside a pa­tient’s body.

The ro­bot was able to re­move all of the ma­lig­nant tis­sue around the tu­mor with­out de­stroy­ing healthy tis­sue.

The scene after dis­as­ters such as earth­quakes, chem­i­cal ex­plo­sions or floods is al­ways dan­ger­ous and com­pli­cated. The ap­pli­ca­tion of robots can re­duce ca­su­al­ties among dis­as­ter re­lief work­ers, reg­u­larly in­jured by fall­ing build­ings or poi­sonous gas re­leases.

The first 48 hours are the golden time for res­cu­ing vic­tims after a dis­as­ter. De­signed to lift heavy things and seek out sur­vivors, robots can res­cue sur­vivors much faster than hu­mans.

China has


de­vel­oped a type of ro­bot that can work in fire, wa­ter or even after a nu­clear ex­plo­sion. The ro­bot, de­vel­oped by Shang­hai Jiao­tongUniver­sity, is set to be widely used in res­cue work.

Nurs­ing is hard work. With the growth of the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion in China, nurs­ing work­ers are in short sup­ply. Robots will be able to re­lieve peo­ple from do­ing la­bor- and stress– in­ten­sive work.

Si­a­sun Ro­bot & Au­to­ma­tion CoinShenyang, Liaon­ing prov­ince, has de­vel­oped a nurs­ing ma­chine that can tell jokes, play mu­sic, can be de­pended on to de­liver food to a pa­tient punc­tu­ally, and will do all that is re­quired if there is an emer­gency.

In the United States, ex­perts are de­vel­op­ing a ro­bot that can re­place hu­mans to at­tend Ebola pa­tients so that hu­mans can avoid be­ing in­fected by the virus.

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