(The Guardian) – They can check you in and deliver orange juice to your hotel room, answer your questions about a missing package, whip up sushi, and pack up thousands of subscription boxes. And, perhaps most importantly, they are completely immune to Covid-19.
While people have had a hard time in the coronavirus pandemic, robots are having a moment. The Covid-19 pandemic has left millions of Americans unemployed – disproportionately those in the service industries where women and people of color make up the largest share of the labor force.
In October, 11 million people were unemployed in the US, compared with about 6 million people who were without a job during the same time last year. And as humans are experiencing record job losses and economic uncertainty, robots have become a hot commodity. Multiple technology manufacturers have reported increased demand for their bots over the course of the pandemic, from drone-like machines that can roam hallways to make deliveries and AI-powered customer service software to increased use of self-service checkouts at supermarkets.
A recent report from the World Economic Forum predicted that by 2025 the next wave of automation – turbocharged by the pandemic – will disrupt 85m jobs globally. New jobs will be created but “businesses, governments, and workers must plan to urgently work together to implement a new vision for the global workforce”. FULL REPORT