Future Trends – Robots Are Destroying Jobs

Posted By on November 11, 2016

Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day he reads through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.

In Future Trends – Robots Are Destroying Jobs we look at the trends that we should be aware of today, November 11th, 2016. We see robots destroying the developing and developed world, helping paralyzed monkeys walk again, and Nikolas Badminton interviewed about cyborg rights.

Robots Will Take Two-Thirds of All Jobs In the Developing World, UN Says

It’s a common belief that low-wage workers will be hit the hardest by advanced robots in the workplace. When we take a global perspective on this, the people that will be most affected by widespread automation won’t be workers in North America, according to a new United Nations report—it’ll be people in developing countries.

Automation stands to reduce opportunities for low-wage workers in North America, the report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development states. But the types of jobs most likely to be eliminated entirely are more prevalent in developing nations. That’s because those same jobs, in sectors like farming and manufacturing, have already mostly dried up in wealthier nations as corporations have moved their operations abroad, in search of higher profits through lower wage costs.

The developing world stands to lose “about two thirds of all jobs,” according to the report. That’s a staggering figure, and well above most credible estimates for job losses due to automation in the West.

Read more at Motherboard

Robotics, driverless tech are taking over mining jobs

In the next decade, the mining industry may lose more than half of its jobs to automation, according to a new report. That’s not based on future technologies, but on automated equipment being deployed today.

The mining industry is primed for automation. It’s capital intensive, buys expensive equipment and pays relatively well.

This industry is adopting self-driving trucks, automated loaders and automated drilling and tunnel-boring systems. It is also testing fully autonomous long-distance trains, which carry materials from the mine to a port, according to the report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg, Canada.

A broader question is whether mining is a bellwether for other industries. There’s no clear answer, but what Aaron Cosbey, a development economist with the institute and a report author, can say is this: “Where you can find robotic replacements for human labor you tend to do it.”

Read more at Computerworld

The Jobs Donald Trump Wants to Bring Back Will Be Gone by 2020

He didn’t mention manufacturing in his victory speech on Tuesday, but Donald Trump’s promise to “bring back jobs” likely helped push him over the top with the white, working-class Americans that came out in droves to vote for him. There was just one problem with Trump’s promise. Tougher to shake than Hillary Clinton is the high-pitched whirring and clanging metal in the distance. It’s the sound of factory robots.

Study after study was released in 2016 that offered a cold truth: No amount of legislating can push back automation. The World Economic Forum reported in January that approximately 5 million jobs will be lost to automation the next five years. (A 2013 Oxford University study found that 47 percent of jobs in the United States are at risk of computerization.)

Read more at INVERSE

Monkeys Regain Control Of Paralyzed Legs With Help Of An Implant

She placed electrodes in the part of the monkey’s brain that controls leg movement, and docked a wireless transmitter on the outside of his skull. Then, she put another set of electrodes along the spinal cord, below the injury. She also implanted an instrument in one leg so they could record muscle activity there.

Six days later, Bloch and her colleagues switched on a device to pick up signals from the electrodes in the monkey’s brain, pass them through a computer, and then send them to the electrodes in the spine.

“In a few seconds you saw the leg moving, and that’s something that would not have happened naturally,” she says. Without the procedure, it would’ve likely taken months before the leg was able to move at all, Bloch says. Within a few days, the monkey was back on its feet.

Its balance wasn’t so good, but its brain and leg were communicating enough for the monkey to walk on a treadmill. Bloch did the same surgery in a second monkey, with similar results after two weeks.

The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Read more at NPR

Cyborg rights: Tech progress brings questions of discrimination (Nikolas Badminton interviewed)

Futurists say biggest obstacle to widespread cyborg adoption is stigma and fear of human-computer conjoinment.

Today, alongside artists like Ribas and Harbisson, there is the “biohacker” or “Grinder” subculture, where people modify their bodies with computer technology and espouse a philosophy that demands such procedures to be safe, affordable and available through open source research. Examples of such “human augmentation” procedures include the installation of magnet-activated LED lights under the skin, as well as implantable devices that can read medical data like one’s heart rate and transmit it to the Internet.

“There are lots of people thinking about this,” said Nikolas Badminton, a futurist in Vancouver who has a chip in his left hand that acts as a key card to his office door. And while it remains a fringe practice, Badminton predicts that “human augmentation” will become more affordable and join the mainstream culture in the years to come — much like the widespread adoption of mobile phones and tattoos. But in the short term the main obstacle is the risk of discrimination, he said — the “weird out” factor.

“When I got my chip, I got a lot of abuse online, people claiming that I was the anti-Christ,” Badminton said. “If you do take the step forward to become a cyborg, you’re an outcast from the beginning.”

Read more in the Toronto Star


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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