Are robots eating our jobs? Not according to AI

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Automation has been gradually transforming the workplace for years (think Excel spreadsheets or chatbots). As artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning systems that can learn from each other become more prevalent and smarter (think Alexa or IBM Watson), they continue to replace more manual, repetitive job tasks. Consequently, automation and robots are changing more jobs globally at breakneck speed.

A McKinsey Global Institute report suggests that between 400 million to 800 million jobs worldwide will be lost due to automation by 2030. The report claims that the U.S. could lose between 16 to 54 million jobs by 2030. The pace at which robots are entering our workforce is staggering. Oxford Economics expects robots and automation to replace 20 million (8.5%) global manufacturing jobs by 2030.

Keep in mind that these predictions came before anyone predicted the Covid-19 pandemic or its impact on our workforce. The pandemic has made the need for digital transformation and automation more urgent as the critical need to work from home, physical distancing and contactless become the new normal.

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The robots continue to invade the fast food sphere

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A KFC in Moscow sends chicken along a conveyor belt to be delivered by a robotic arm.

The last dispatch from The Takeout’s robot beat was May 5. That’s six whole weeks during which the robots, unbothered by our human troubles, continued making advancements in their quest to replace the human race. As is so often the case, they have set their sights on a new way to optimize fast food, perhaps understanding that this is where they can exert the most influence over us.

Humans have generally understood for decades that the robots have been coming for our jobs, with a capacity for automation that renders many human workers obsolete—in theory, anyway. Recent estimates show that by 2030, a whopping 38% of American jobs will be eliminated in favor of automation. Now, with the entire world in the clutches of a pandemic, it’s possible that humans have begun to warm to the robots, which are not perceived to be as germ-covered as humans and can better facilitate social distancing measures (plus, you know, companies don’t have to pay them a living wage). With that in mind, KFC is currently testing “fast food of the future” in Moscow. Take a look:

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