Ro­bots are com­ing for your job

Three tech­nolo­gies at the world’s big­gest tech show could take over your job in the near fu­ture.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY -

THE world is di­vided: There are the techno-op­ti­mists who be­lieve the more tech, the bet­ter – but then there are the techno-pes­simists, who think all this tech may be bad for us.

Ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy are al­ways de­signed to make our lives eas­ier, but that very of­ten comes at a cost. Some of the lat­est tech pre­sented at the CES (Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show) fair in Las Ve­gas, United States, high­lighted the next group of hu­man pro­fes­sion­als that could lose their jobs in the near fu­ture.

Here are tech­nolo­gies that were on dis­play that are cast­ing a dark shadow over three hu­man lines of work:

Bak­ers vs Bread­bot

An au­to­mated bak­ing ma­chine could also be a game-changer: The Wilkin­son Bak­ing Com­pany has un­veiled the Bread­Bot baker, which can pro­duce bread loaves that are “fresher, health­ier, preser­va­tive free and eco-friendly”, the com­pany claims.

The ma­chine can make 10 loaves an hour and op­er­ate for up to 24 hours straight, which means re­tail­ers can pro­gramme the bot to start mak­ing bread hours be­fore the first em­ploy­ees ar­rive for work. The ma­chine also re­duces de­liv­ery ex­penses and the en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects of dis­tri­bu­tion.

The fully-au­to­mated bot can pro­duce all kinds of bread us­ing dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ent com­bi­na­tions as well – all you need to do is give the ma­chine the in­gre­di­ents and it will have the first loaf of bread ready within 90 min­utes.

Driv­ers vs driver­less cars

With the growth of the elec­tric car and the com­ing dawn of au­tonomous driv­ing, some of the big­gest names in the in­dus­try took to CES to show how their fo­cus has shifted to­wards driver­less cars.

One ex­am­ple is Mercedes’ new CLA, which is less about de­sign or en­gine size and more about its Mbux op­er­at­ing sys­tem, which now also re­acts to ges­tures from pas­sen­gers and boasts an im­proved voice con­trol with nat­u­ral di­a­logue.

It’s a trend that pre­vails through­out the fair. Kia’s con­cept can recog­nise the mood of the oc­cu­pants and can, for ex­am­ple, au­to­mat­i­cally ad­just the cli­mate and in­te­rior of the ve­hi­cle to it.

Audi is of­fer­ing back-seat com­puter games where the vir­tual re­al­ity con­tent matches the real-time move­ments of the ve­hi­cle. Mean­while any­one who sits down in the BMW iNext feels more like they are in a liv­ing room than a car with its hid­den elec­tron­ics.

It’s the clear­est sig­nal so far that the in­dus­try ex­pects au­topi­lot will, per­haps sooner than ex­pected, be tak­ing the wheel from driv­ers in the fu­ture.

In an­other glimpse of what is to come, car or ride shar­ing via pub­lic ro­botic shut­tles, has also been teased.

These new ve­hi­cles, bat­tery­pow­ered of course, will cruise au­tonomously through cities, be or­dered by app, and will au­to­mat­i­cally plan their routes in such a way that as many peo­ple get to their des­ti­na­tions as pos­si­ble.

In­ter­preters vs Google As­sis­tant

Google As­sis­tant is now a trans­la­tor. The AI (ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence) can be used to help out when check­ing in at ho­tels – for now, that’s all. All you need is a Google dis­play or smart speaker though, so it’s not unimag­in­able that the leap from the ser­vice in­dus­try could be made sooner rather than later.

With your de­vice, switch on In­ter­preter Mode and the soft­ware will lis­ten to ev­ery sen­tence you say in one lan­guage, and will re­peat what you said in an­other lan­guage.

The fea­ture can trans­late around two dozen lan­guages, in­clud­ing Ger­man, French, Ital­ian, Swedish, Rus­sian, Korean and Ja­pa­nese. Un­for­tu­nately, there aren’t very many hu­mans that can match that num­ber of lan­guages – and Google As­sis­tant will work for free, too. – dpa


The Bread­Bot is a fully au­to­mated bread bak­ing ma­chine that pro­duces 10 loaves an hour.

— dpa

Mak­ing the jour­ney as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble for pas­sen­gers is the idea be­hind many au­tonomous taxis on show at CES, like this con­cept ve­hi­cle from Kia.

— AP

Google As­sis­tant work­ing as a trans­la­tor for an Ital­ian speaker, left, and an English speaker at CES.

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