Industrial robots have been around for decades. What will happen when they are connected to AI? What will the job market look like and how will entire industries change?

If we were to ask where the combination of robotics and AI can provide industrial transformation, the immediate view in many people’s minds is the direct replacement of human workers, for example in picking strawberries. This is only a part of the picture, significant gains are also enabled by replacing or upgrading existing machines (see our welding example above), by augmenting human capabilities (such as by presetting no-go zones in robotic surgery) and by opening completely new options that previously were not possible (for example micro surgery robots may need to make their own decisions due to difficulty in communicating with them inside the body).

Robots have a bad reputation for stealing workers’ jobs. The rise of robots in factories has also increased the possibility of injury. Traditionally, robots needed to operate in separate spaces from humans.

Collaborative robots, or cobots, have been working with humans on the factory floor for years, but when it comes to the large-scale industrial robots that can lift and move massive pieces of manufacturing, the danger to human workers is so great that the robots are bolted down to the factory floor behind fences so a human never comes near them.

Here’s an interesting read on the importance of re-skilling the workforce to be ready when the robots and/or algorithms take away many (all?) of the jobs.

Recently, Amazon floated the idea that it would be fully automated in a decade: Not all of the 125,000 people who work at Amazon warehouses have to worry about losing their jobs to robots — not for 10 years or so, anyways. On Tuesday, Scott Anderson, director of Amazon […]

In light of the recent Data Driven podcast episode on preparing workers for the coming AI storm,

Joseph Fuller, professor at Harvard Business School, says that the story we hear about workers being afraid for the future of their jobs might not be right. In surveying 11,000 people in lower-income and middle-skills jobs and 6,500 managers across 11 countries, Fuller discovered that, contrary to what bosses believe, many employees are excited about new technologies and willing to be trained in new skills.

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Sin City has been booming for the last 20 years, providing plenty of jobs and affordable housing that other cities in the US have been losing steadily during the same time period.

But is that party about to end? In this Al Jazeera documentary on the economic impact of AI and robotic automation(watch part 1 here), we take a closer look at places that will be hardest hit, particularly in Las Vegas.

Things are about to get interesting.