1 million new jobs from robotics industries

I was intrigued by the teaser for the IEEE- USA Today's Engineer story "The Real Steel: Robotics Careers Ready to Boom". It cited a market research report that claimed there would be 1 million new jobs added due to the robotics industry over the next 5 years. Many of these jobs will come from obvious sources like engineering, software, and manufacturing.

To me, the most surprising  job that was mentioned in the article was for psychiatrists. The reasoning for such positions was to ensure robots will "have a mental picture of what people are doing around it". Psychiatrists would observe how humans interact with robots and be able to suggest better behavior or design changes to improve such interaction. (When I read this my first thought was about Dr. Susan Calvin and the Three Laws of Robotics or picturing Robbie the Robot laying out on a couch talking to his therapist.)

There was also a reference made that indirect industries (restaurants and service industries) would also benefit with expanding numbers of jobs. I can understand the need for engineers and programmers to develop working models of robots, but I would have thought that the advent of robots would start taking jobs from workers in many of the service industries. Won't we soon have robot waiters, robot salesmen, and robot butlers?

I don't want to see someone lose their job, but if we have autonomous robots, I think that there will be more jobs lost (to robot replacements) than there will be jobs created. Of course, that will all depend on how well the psychiatrists are doing their job to influence designs and perceptions to be more readily accepted by the public. If we're going to start with more household automation (like all the cleaning robots in the 1947 short "House Hunting Mice"), it might be easier to introduce other service industry robots nito our modern society.

The article, being focused on careers, ends with some helpful advice about how you can get into the robotics industry. There are many different industries that will be touched by robotics and you may need to specialize in something other than engineering or programming. For example, to design and create medical robots, you should have some experience or knowledge about biomedicine.

All in all, if you're interested in robotics, this sounds like a cool opportunity. I have probably watched too many SF movies with robots in them and will likely be disappointed with the current state of the technology myself. I don't think we're getting close to entering the world portrayed in Magnus, Robot Fighter. However, my great grand nieces and nephews could be very close in their lifetimes.
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1 comment

Clay B.'s picture

Here's a story about DARPA putting $7million toward development of robots that can be controlled by soldiers like a surrogate. (The goal seems closer to the Bruce WIllis movie than it does to "Avatar".)


$7 million doesn't seem like much for DARPA, especially if this gets cut up among several firms. Even so, it's a nice step forward to developing humanoid robots for dangerous missions.

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