A 2017 Pew Research study found that 72% of American adults are worried about robots and computers taking over human jobs. However, 59% of PenPals who recently completed the Robotics project think that the automation of industrial jobs is a good thing.
It’s clear that robots and machines are already replacing human labor, but most PenPals are still hopeful that this won’t leave humans scavenging for scraps. This week, we celebrate Ufuk from Turkey, James and Austin from Canada, and Aubri from the United States as PenPals of the Week. These students learned about how robots are programmed and operated across different industries in Robotics. PenPals discussed how robots are currently being used in their communities and how they should be used in the future.
James makes a great point that using robot labor actually increases demand for engineers and skilled workers.
“I think people shouldn't worry that robots are taking their jobs because the need for more robots means the need for more engineers and technicians increases. This is because they need to both maintain current robots, and make them more efficient, safer, and easier to manage. So in the end, jobs wouldn't disappear, just turn to more specialized areas. Engineers should keep creating and innovating, while people should be adapting to progress.”
Robots can also increase job opportunities in certain fields, like art.
“Artificial intelligence could indeed generate a photo that resembles art, but it lacks the human element of traditional art. Robots cannot create human art, they can only assist in the creation of a human's work. After thinking about it, I believe that robots will have an overall positive impact on the workforce, opening new opportunities for people to do things that would normally be less of a priority. Sure robots take a few jobs, but they also open up new jobs as well.”
As people pursue their true callings, robots can pick up the slack and keep production flowing.
“I think engineers should make more robots because humans get tired and start complaining. What will the companies do when they have barely any workers to make their products? That means less money for the companies and barely any cars or phones or anything like that being sold. There will be a lot of mad customers.”
Robots can also take on jobs that are too dangerous for humans.
“Robots can do hard work, especially those that cause people to die. Reconnaissance, or exploration of battlefields is being used today with unmanned aircraft. If there is a war, robots can be used.”
For example, BEAR is an all-terrain, search-and-rescue robot that can lift and carry up to 500 pounds!
NASA also invented a robot called Valkyrie that can conduct experiments on Mars and set up habitats before human astronauts arrive.
These four PenPals are optimistic and open minded to change. With knowledge comes power, and through collaborative projects, students are empowered to learn about emerging technologies and the opportunities and challenges they present. PenPals are less afraid of losing jobs than many adults because they are openly discussing how they can adapt to future career opportunities not in spite of, but with the help of robots. We can’t wait to see how these bright minds interact with the robots of the future!
Want your students to learn about how robots may impact their futures? Enroll your class in Robotics.