According to the International Federation of Robotics, increasing use of robots will create 1 million new jobs in the next 5 years. The announcement is based on a study, “Positive Impact of Industrial Robots on Employment,” conducted by the market research firm Metra Martech. Many of these jobs will relate to engineering, software and manufacturing, as robots are primarily associated with assembly, service and defense.
Still, Jon Bornstein, manager of the Army Research Laboratory’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance states, “a wide array of skills is necessary to develop these robotics systems.” Some of these skills mentioned, like aerospace engineering, psychiatry and biomedical engineering, are a bit less obvious. “Even with a very basic example, such as a vacuum cleaner, you need a mechanical engineer for design, an electrical engineer for the controls, a computing engineer for the software, a biomedical engineer to understand the human factors, and an aerospace engineer to provide critical performance,” states Henrik Christensen, director of the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Institute of Technology. Bornstein also points out, “we also employ a large number of psychiatrists. We want a robot to have a mental picture of what people are doing around it.” Psychiatrists can also gauge human/robot interaction, to optimize productivity. And perhaps tweak and modify Asomiv’s 3 Laws of Robotics.
No matter where you look in the robotics industry, things are expanding. “I just see unbounded growth,” says Matthew Mason, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. “And it will be growing for a long time.” This all sounds good right now, but it seems like the advancement of robotics in the workforce would eventually begin to actually take jobs away.
Sure, biomedical engineering psychiatrists might have something to do, but it seems like clerks and waiters might eventually be having a hard time.