Here come our new robot overlords.
A Korean tech giant has announced three new robots that take aim at the vast and fast-growing global service industry sector.
Technologists and economists have long predicted that artificial intelligence and automation would one day sync up to eliminate millions of mostly low-wage jobs in the future.
South Korea’s LG Electronics is planning to sell robots to solve tasks currently completed by humans. The tech company is showcasing the three “concept robots” at the global consumer electronics show CES in Las Vegas, according to a press release.
The first concept robot can deliver food or drinks to customers at hotels and airport lounges—essentially replacing work done by servers but unlike humans, it could work 24 hours a day if needed.
The second concept is a porter to handle checking in and checking out at hotels and carrying luggage to rooms. There is already a hotel in Japan that is staffed by robots.
The final concept robot would work with you at a supermarket, telling you the prices of items and guiding you through grocery store aisles.
The World Bank estimates that about half of all jobs globally are in the service industry, which includes transportation, accommodation, food and more.
“There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better [than a human]. These are not things that I wish will happen. These are simply things that I think probably will happen,” Elon Musk said at the World Government Summit in 2017.
Meanwhile, a McKinsey & Company report suggests that by 2030, as many as 800 million workers globally could be replaced by robots. Robots have replaced humans in 25 percent of China’s ammunition factories.
“As an important part of our future growth engine, LG is committed to expanding its portfolio of robots that can deliver real convenience and innovation in our customers’ lives,” said Ryu Hye-jung, head of the smart solution business division of LG’s Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company, in a statement.
Technological developments have been upending industries forever. Improvements in automation led to the elimination of many jobs over the last half of the twentieth century.
The McKinsey report suggests that new technologies often create more jobs than they destroy, but not everyone is buying that.
Meanwhile, Bill Gates has proposed that governments may eventually have to tax robot workers the same way that we tax human workers.
“We will continue to develop a wide range of products across commercial and home robots while seeking new opportunities to contribute to the advancement of the robotics industry,” said Hye-jung.