Recently I read an article about ‘Ross’, an artificially intelligent lawyer who has been recruited by Baker & Hostetler, a law firm. Ross will be a part of the 50 member team that practices Bankruptcy. The firm also announced that several other law firms have initiated the process and will soon be making announcements.
Earlier, there was a news about SoftBank partnering with IBM to manufacture robots that will assist customers in retail shops. Last year we came to know about a Chinese factory replacing 90% of the humans with robots. And that has resulted in immense improvement in production.
We were already aware of this change taking place. Some of us were laughing off, saying that this is a distant dream. Some practical guys indicated that only certain kind of jobs (which do not require creativity or innovation) will get replaced. Bloggers, newspapers, experts and everyone else suddenly started posting about the the safest and the most threatened profession. But, with every passing day is it getting imminent that no job is safe anymore. Even if you are the one programming for the robots. The rate at which we are injecting intelligence into the robots clearly suggests that they will start doing it themselves, probably by the end of the century.
By 2020, experts predict that more than five million jobs will be replaced as robots are getting more and more intelligent, flexible and cheaper. This article had claimed, profession related to law that will never be replaced by robots. Ross proved them wrong. Every profession can be replaced by robots. Even surgeries are being assisted by robots. Probably, not a single profession is safe today. Reports even say the sex robots will be launched to replace men by 2025. Except, may be, for politics, if at all there remains a need.
Now comes the big question. In the race to become rich and richer, every single day, when we are eliminating jobs everyday, are we not reducing the customer base as well? Who will buy the products which the robots manufacture, if the purchasing power diminishes? Who will remain to be taught if we do not ensure that the people earn enough to send children to school? Who will the robot doctors treat if people do not earn enough? Will the customer base not increasingly diminish year after year if people start losing jobs?
Well, number of customers do not define how much a company can earn. If the customer base decreases, the prices can be brought up to ensure profit. However, that number will decrease gradually.
It is possible that the wealth of the world will get accumulated to a handful and there will not be any further need of customers. Probably, like the way it may have started, a modern, sophisticated version of ‘tribe’ will rule the earth. And a natural calamity or an unknown disease; even a malfunction in the robots may end our race.
Beware! it may well be the beginning of the end.