Photo source: Time Magazine

The story of artificial intelligence (AI) and robots replacing humans rapidly in the labour market continues to garner more strength, especially now that the coronavirus outbreak has drastically upended life as we’ve known it for years. Global world leaders, looking to curb the spread of the deadly virus first discovered in November last year in Wuhan China, implemented draconian lockdowns that led to hundreds of companies being shut down and thousands rendered unemployed.

In an article in the American publication, Time magazine last month, it was reported that some economists argue that at least 42% of the jobs lost in our days sheltering in place are gone for good.

While the need for social distancing has accelerated the rise of AI and robots dominating the labour markets, their dominance has been inevitable for years. With the rise of automated technology; ATMs, Job Bots like Ise, and others, the advent of robots has been long brewing in the data science world. And so when the world came to a watershed point in data science history, more than ever humans must look for ways to cater to their everyday needs without physical contact with other humans. Alas, the next available option was robots.

In a new research carried out by economists at MIT and Boston University, they came to the conclusion that we are yet to see the most replacement of human capacity by automated technology. They argue that robots will replace at least 2 million more human jobs in the next five years.

Photo source: Flickr by Arthur Caranta

This is also largely because of the reliability of machines; they are incapable of contracting the virus. “This pandemic has created a very strong incentive to automate the work of human beings…Machines don’t fall ill, they don’t need to isolate to protect peers, they don’t need to take time off work,” Daniel Susskind, a fellow in economics at Balliol College, University of Oxford, and the author of A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond told Time magazine recently.

The large part of the replacement of human labour by AI would hit the members of the grassroots – cleaners, gatemen, etc- hardest economists now warn. Unlike in previous years when they have had time to retire or look for jobs elsewhere, the coronavirus didn’t afford them that gesture as it spread all over the world within months.

Artificial intelligence and robots are now more than ever glaringly the future of the 21st century. It is a make it or break it situation, one that data scientists have already won.