Aiman Omer || أيمن عمر
Robot. Is it an enemy or an ally?
We are currently living in an era where we are witnessing huge advancements in technology such as robots and artificial intelligence. Many studies are predicting that most low-skilled jobs are going to disappear within the next decade. The latest development in robots and AI technology had make it easier for companies to perform jobs in a highly efficient and productive way. This might be good for some businesses which can increase productivity and reduce expenses. However, there is a downside to this issue. Millions of people are losing their job due to the implementation of these technologies, and even the ones who are still holding jobs are facing a hard time competing with machines. So, we have two groups who are sitting one posit viewpoint toward robots. One sees robots as a gift that over great benefits for them, and another group sees robots as a threat to their existence. So can we consider the robot as an ally or an enemy?
There are 2 sides that have different viewpoints on robots. One side sees robots as an ally that can provide numerous benefits and advantages to the society and economy. On the other hand, there is another group on the opposite side that view robots as an eminent threat to human existence.
First, let us look at the benefits that robots could provide:
Efficiency: Robots have the capability to perform several tasks with high speed and accuracy. These were very helpful for manufacturing, as well as other industries such as logistics; for reducing operating costs and improving product quality.
Safety: Robots can be used to perform dangerous tasks such as handling harmful materials in factories. This allows many manufacturers to use robots to perform some of the risky tasks and keep their human workers safe. Moreover, robots can be used in hazardous environments, such as outer space or nuclear reactors; which are very risky to human lives.
Improved Quality of Life: Robots can take over repetitive and boring tasks, which will allow humans to focus on more creative and valuable work. In such a way, humans can use their time better in meaningful work that will give us more satisfaction. This will allow us to focus more on jobs that make us human rather than wasting our time working like machines. Looking at another robot application, the implementation of robots in the medical sector will have a significant role in healthcare improvement. Now robots can perform more precise surgery and assist handicapped people to move easily.
Improved Environmental Sustainability: Robots can play a major role in the effort for sustaining the environment. The use of robots in manufacturing can help in using the resources very efficiently which will minimize the amount of waste material. Moreover, with the advancement in industrial robot technology, we can set up factories close to consumer areas. This will help to reduce the need for long-distance transportation which is one of the main contributors to the problem the global warming. Another point is the implementation of robots in the agriculture sector. Such technology can improve agricultural work efficiency and productivity that will help to minimize the resources needs for food production.
These are some of the benefits that robots can provide for us. By looking at those advantages, we can consider robots as an ally to humans. However, many people have concerns about the rise of robots and focus on some of the potential dangers that these machines could bring. Some of these threats might include:
Autonomy and controllability: With the advancement in AI and its integration into robot systems, robots are becoming more autonomous. The latest advancements in AI allow robots to make their own decisions without human involvement. This has raised the concern of losing control of robots, which in some cases might make decisions that are dangerous or harmful to humans. Another issue that some experts have raised is the possibility of hacking or highjacking of robot control. This could be a serious problem with the increased usage of IoT technology in the robot system.
Harmful Usage: Robot has found their way into military application since the beginning of this century. Even though some people might see it as a benefit for improving security and saving soldiers' lives. A wide range of people views military robots as harmful technology that will lead to more wars and destruction.
Job Displacement: The ability of robots to take over humans’ jobs is considered to be one of the greatest threats of robots. For years many experts raised concerns about massive unemployment and social disruption with the increased usage of robots and AI systems in many sectors. Although many experts believe that robots will create more highly skilled jobs in place of the jobs that they will eliminate, there are many fears about the difficulties of closing the skill gap in the workforce.
Although these threats are real and should be taken seriously, there are a lot of efforts to minimize the negative effects of robots. Many developers are working hard to ensure the safety of the robot system by keeping humans in the loop and developing some ethical codes for robot usage. And for the risk of job market disruption, many organizations and institutes are working hard to raise awareness about the importance of skills development for the preparation of future jobs. By preparing the workforce with the required skills and knowledge, we can minimize the impact of robot implementation on the job market. People will have to be aware of jobs that are highly affected by new technology and plan their career paths according to the job market development.
So going back to our question: Is a robot an enemy or an ally? Well, it depends on which side you are in. If you are focusing on the benefits and advantages of robots, you will probably view robots as an ally that provides great help to us. But if you are focusing on the negative aspects of the robot, you will definitely see the robot as one of the biggest enemies. So we can say that a robot will not be an enemy unless you consider it as an enemy. As we mentioned above there are many great benefits that robots can provide to us. We just need to focus on the positive side and think about how to overcome or minimize the effect of the negative side.