In 2017, I returned to Canada from Sweden, the place I had spent a 12 months engaged on automation in mining. Shortly after my return, the New York Occasions revealed a bit referred to as, “The Robots Are Coming, and Sweden Is High quality,” about Sweden’s embrace of automation whereas limiting human prices.
Though Swedes are apparently optimistic about their future alongside robots, different nations aren’t as hopeful. One extensively cited examine estimates that 47 per cent of jobs in america are liable to being changed by robots and synthetic intelligence.
Whether or not we prefer it or not, the robotic period is already upon us. The query is: Is the Canadian economic system poised to flourish or flounder in a world the place robots take over the duties we don’t wish to do ourselves? The reply might shock you.
Robots are all over the place
Trendy-day robots are how synthetic intelligence (AI) bodily interacts with us, and the world round us. Though some robots resemble people, most don’t and are as an alternative particularly designed to autonomously perform advanced duties.
Over the previous few many years, robots have quickly grown from specialised units developed for choose business functions to home items. You should buy a robotic to hoover your flooring, minimize your grass and maintain your property safe. Children play with instructional robots in school, the place they study to code, and compete in robotic design groups that culminate in thrilling worldwide competitions.
Robots are additionally showing in our hospitals, promising to assist us struggle the COVID-19 pandemic and performing different health-care duties in safer and extra environment friendly methods.
The media is abuzz with tales concerning the newest technical claims, rumours and speculations concerning the secret developments of main worldwide companies, together with Waymo, Tesla, Apple, Volvo and GM.
And NASA simply landed the Perseverance rover on Mars, with an autonomous helicopter referred to as Ingenuity hooked up to its stomach.
Oh, and there are the dancing robots too, after all.
Robots behind the scenes
I’ve been engaged on robotics and autonomous automobiles know-how in mining because the late Nineties. As such, I’ve been a part of an business that’s present process a sea change, with absolutely autonomous machines steadily changing employees in darkish, soiled and harmful situations.
(Joshua Marshall), Creator offered
This robotic revolution is occurring behind the scenes in different industries too. Robots fill Amazon orders, manufacture stuff in factories, plant and choose crops, help on building websites, and the checklist goes on.
In truth, robots even construct different robots. Will we quickly run out of jobs for individuals?
Robots in Canada
There are numerous who paint a bleak image of the longer term, the place robots and AI take away all of the “good jobs.” Though I absolutely acknowledge that we should be conscious of potential inequalities and unintended outcomes which may come up because of new applied sciences, I contend that Canadians have the potential to thrive.
However to make it occur, my colleagues and I agree that our nation wants a “robotics technique.”
In 2017, Canada launched the world’s first nationwide AI technique. Referred to as the Pan-Canadian Synthetic Intelligence Technique and costing $125 million, the technique goals to strengthen Canada’s management in AI by funding institutes, universities and hospitals to fulfill key aims.
In its 2020 checklist of future jobs, the World Financial Discussion board listed “robotics engineers” as No. 10, in shut firm with “AI and machine studying specialists.” In Canada, I see big potential for our robotics business, with corporations similar to Clearpath Robotics, OTTO Motors, Kinova, Robotiq and Titan Medical already world leaders within the design and manufacture of robots for functions starting from supplies dealing with to surgical procedure.
Past constructing robots, Canada’s most vital alternatives might lie within the elevated adoption of robots into economically essential business sectors, together with mining, agriculture, manufacturing and transportation.
And but, Canada would be the solely G7 nation with out a robotics technique.
The robotic revelation
Because it seems, there’s hope. In keeping with a November 2020 report from Statistics Canada, Canadian corporations that employed robots have additionally employed extra human employees, opposite to what you could instinctively consider. In truth, they employed 15 per cent extra employees!
Nevertheless, this doesn’t imply that we will all sit again and loosen up. Together with the elevated financial exercise that robots carry to companies comes a shift within the workforce from “employees spending much less time performing routine, handbook duties, in favour of non-routine, cognitive duties.”
(Heshan Fernando), Creator offered
The roles of schooling and analysis and growth — similar to new applications to coach the following technology of robot-savvy Canadians and collaborative analysis clusters — are paramount. And so they must be mixed with a nationwide robotics technique and a progressive socioeconomic system that helps a transitioning workforce to make sure the success, well-being and happiness of Canadians, alongside our robotic mates.
Joshua A. Marshall receives funding from the Pure Sciences and Engineering Analysis Council of Canada (NSERC) below Discovery grant RGPIN-2015-04025. He additionally receives funding from the NSERC Canadian Robotics Community (NCRN) and its business companions, together with Clearpath Robotics, below grant NETGP 508451-17, from the NSERC Collaborative R&D program, Common Dynamics Land Programs (Canada), and Defence R&D Canada (DRDC) below grant DNDPJ 533392-18, from the Nationwide Analysis Council of Canada (NRC) below grant settlement SC-AI4L-118-1, in addition to from the NSERC CREATE for Constructing Belief in Related Autonomous Autos below grant 542999-2020.