A study by researchers from the UK and Japan explores the impact of robots on domestic work.
In today's world, where time is a precious commodity, technology has been making tremendous strides to make life easier for us. From vacuuming to mowing the lawn, robots have been gradually taking over some of the tedious tasks people must do at home.
With each passing day, these intelligent machines are becoming more efficient, affordable, and even human-like. It's no longer a futuristic fantasy to have a robot maid like Rosie from the Jetsons or a helpful droid like R2-D2 from Star Wars.
According to the BBC, artificial intelligence (AI) experts from the UK and Japan have predicted that around 39% of household tasks and caring for loved ones could be automated within the next 10 years.
This is according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, in which 65 AI experts were asked to predict the amount of automation in common household tasks.They found that grocery shopping was likely to see the most automation, while caring for the young or old was the least likely to be impacted by AI.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford and Ochanomizu University in Japan.
The researchers wanted to know what impact robots might have on unpaid domestic work. They asked 29 AI experts from the UK and 36 AI experts from Japan for their forecasts on robots in the home.
The team found that male UK experts tended to be more optimistic about domestic automation compared to their female counterparts, while the situation was reversed in Japan.
While automation could free up a lot of time spent on unpaid domestic work, it could also have negative consequences. For example, technology can be expensive, and if systems to assist with housework are only affordable to a subset of society, it could lead to greater inequality in free time.
Additionally, homes full of smart automation could raise privacy concerns, where devices are able to listen in and collect data on our activities.
Despite the potential drawbacks, increasing automation could lead to greater gender equality, as women often carry a heavier load of household work, which affects their earnings, savings, and pensions. However, AI technology is more likely to assist humans rather than replace them.
While it's difficult and expensive to create robots that can do multiple tasks, creating assistive technology that helps us could be a more useful and practical solution.
It's exciting to think about how automation could make life easier and free up our time. However, we need to be aware of the potential downsides and make sure we use technology in a responsible way.
As we move forward, we should strive to create technology that assists humans and improves our lives, while being mindful of privacy concerns and issues of inequality.
- BBC News: Robots 'to take 40% of jobs by 2030'
- PLOS ONE: The Automatability of Domestic Work: Estimates and Implications for Gender Inequalities
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