A new poll not only indicates that quite a few people believe that robots will soon replace them at their jobs but that intelligent machines will hold positions in government as well. In fact, some 16 percent believe that such an occurrence will transpire in the next one or two years. But a majority of poll respondents believe that it will take somewhat longer — but not that much longer, with a robot politician holding office by 2037.
Maybe the least surprising finding of the poll was that there were those who believe that robots would make better politicians than those attempting to govern today.
Information management firm OpenText conducted a survey of 2,000 United Kingdom residents, according to CBR (Computer Business Review), and found that one in four (25 percent) respondents felt that robots would make better politicians if given the chance. A full 66 percent said they could see robots holding government positions in 20 years. Others saw politician robots in place quite a bit sooner: 16 percent said political robots will start taking up positions within the next two years.
Of course, this line of thinking is nearly commensurate with the general idea that technological progress will see many jobs currently held by humans being taken over by artificially intelligent machines and/or some form of mechanized robot. According to the poll, 24 percent of those surveyed believe robots will take over their jobs with 20 years, while another 25 percent said it would only be a decade before they lost their jobs to robots.
Another 42 percent believe it will take 30 years to be replaced.
This pessimistic outlook follows reports back in 2015 that cited author Jerry Kaplan (Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence), who posited that artificial intelligence would be the driving force behind the replacement of humans by robots in the workplace. According to Kaplan (per Business Insider), who quoted an Oxford study, positions in the legal profession, such a legal secretaries and paralegals, due to their jobs being centered around data gathering, recording, and research, could see a 94.5 percent likelihood of automation in the near future.
It should be noted that many politicians were and are members of the legal profession…
And automation won’t spare other government positions, either. According to a February report from British thinktank Reform (per The Guardian), some 250,000 government civil service workers could be out of a job in the next 15 years. Additionally, 90 percent of all Whitehall administrators would lose their positions, not to mention tens of thousands at the National Health Service and the General Practitioners. With more efficient machines doing their jobs, it is estimated that £4 billion pounds ($5 billion) will be saved each year.
All of this points toward a massive socioeconomic upheaval within the next decade or so. Increased automation and mechanization, not to mention technological advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, will, according to the experts, lead the way to mass unemployment on a global scale. But while government jobs might see a near takeover by machines, politicians might get a reprieve and experience only an encroachment on their territory by robots.
The one thing that might save certain positions from the inexorable march of the machines and complete robot takeover is what is referred to as the “human factor,” the nuanced cognitive decision-making that human beings do that derives from, among other things, calculated consideration, critical thinking, instinct, imaginative extrapolation, gambling or taking chances, cognitive leaping, and so on. According to the OpenText poll, 35 percent of respondents believe that robots will not be able to hold down positions in government as politicians, because they lack the ability to analyze “cultural aspects” in order to make their decisions.
So with robots held somewhat at bay, maybe all those jobless and unemployable lawyers will have careers to fall back on after all.
[Featured Image by Tatiana Shepeleva/Shutterstock]