The pandemic altered the world order and opened the eyes of the populace to alternative things of getting things do, especially with the restriction of movement occasioned by the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Then automated machines powered by Artificial Intelligence became the get to go, as citizens of the world began to grasp with the effect the stay at home occasioned by the sporadic of the deadly virus caused.
It is hence not surprising the robotic, automated; AI technology market began to soar high.
Charles for example need a roast beef sandwich and he may have to be talking to Annabel, an artificially intelligent voice assistant that will take your order and send it to the line cooks.
“It doesn’t call sick,” says Amir Siddiqi, whose family installed the AI voice at its Arby’s franchise this year in Ontario, California. “It doesn’t get corona. And the reliability of it is great.”
The impact of the pandemic on the lifestyle and health of humans on planet earth cannot be over estimated as a lot lost their jobs, companies faced with worker shortages, arising higher costs of labour. The companies had no option and started automating service sector jobs that economists had in the past considered safe, with the believe that machines can not readily provide the human contact they believed customers would demand.
Recent data has not only promoted the viewpoint that such kevel of automation waves at the end of the day create more jobs than what they destroy, it also wipe out less-skilled jobs that a lot of low-income workers had hitherto depended on.
According to Johannes Moenius, an economist at the University of Redlands, automation can ideally deploy workers into better and more interesting work, as long as they can be availed of the appropriate technical training but added that even if it’s happening now, it’s not moving quickly enough.
In Johannes words:
“The robots escaped the manufacturing sector and went into the much larger service sector,” he says. “I regarded contact jobs as safe. I was completely taken by surprise”.
The breakthrough in robotic technology had given machines the leverage to perform many tasks that had hitherto required people to do, but the pandemic outbreak further accelerated their adoption and use. From tossing pizza dough, transporting hospital linens, inspecting gauges sorting goods and so on, robots can’t get sick or spread disease and may have started replacing human labour.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) economists in their study had discovered that past pandemics may have encouraged forms to invest in ways productivity can be boosted, inadvertently killing low-skilled jobs.
Writing in a January paper, the IMF opined:
“Our results suggest that the concerns about the rise of the robots amid the COVID-19 pandemic seem justified”.
The implication of this is that less educated men and women may have to bear the brunt of AI technology, as they disproportionately occupy the low- and mid-wage jobs most exposed to automation, and to viral infections. Jobs like salesclerks, administrative assistants, cashiers and aides in hospitals and those who take care of the sick and elderly among others are those now replaced with Artificial Intelligence Technology.
A 2020 survey by the World Economic Forum, a non-profit organization revealed that about 43 percent of companies are on the move to downsize their workforce in cognizance of new technology. The report goes on further to say that since the second quarter of 2020, business investment in equipment has grown 26%, more than twice as fast as the overall economy.
According to a trade group, the International Federation of Robotics, the most exponential growth is expected in the roving machines that clean the floors of supermarkets, hospitals and warehouses, according to the International Federation of Robotics, a trade group. The IFR group also predicted a spike in sales of robots that provide shoppers with information or deliver room service orders in hotels.
Restaurant owners are among those who have been visible of robotic technology, with the use of AI to perform tasks that had been hitherto done by its casual staffs. Sweetgreen, a salad chain restaurant had for example in late August, announced it was buying kitchen robotics startup Spyce, that built up a machine that cooks up vegetables and grains and spouts them into bowls.
Aside robots, software and AI-powered services are on the rise in number of uses too. Coffee making company, Starbucks has been making you of automation to keep track of the store’s inventory.
The Chief Executive Officer of Virginia-based restaurant chain Bartaco, Arlington, Scott Lawton, for example was having trouble last fall getting servers to return to his restaurants when they reopened during the pandemic and decided to discard them.
But then he decided to infuse automation and with the help of a software firm, Arlington was able to develop an online ordering and payment system customers could use over their phones. Diners now simply scan a barcode at the centre of each table to access a menu and order their food without waiting for a server. Workers bring food and drinks to their tables. And when they’re done eating, customers pay over their phones and leave.
The uptick in automation could not stop a stunning rebound in the U.S. jobs market, with the pandemic making the U.S. economy to lose a staggering 22.4 million jobs in March and April 2020. Hiring has since bounced back briskly: Employers have brought back 17 million jobs since April 2020. In June, they posted a record 10.1 million job openings and are complaining that they can’t find enough workers.
In Britain and other Western countries, there is little difference.
Some economists in paranoia believe that automation will push workers into lower-paid positions as AI technology has done most of what is needed to be done.
Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University had in June estimated that up to 70% of the stagnation in U.S. wages between 1980 and 2016 could be explained by machines replacing humans doing routine tasks.
“Many of the jobs that get automated were at the middle of the skill distribution,” Acemoglu says. “They don’t exist anymore, and the workers that used to perform them are now doing lower-skill jobs.”