Gus Lubin, BusinessInsider 11 Sep 2018 Viewed 148 Times Viewed by 91 people

Robots are coming for all our jobs, but we've still got the edge in a few key areas.


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McKinseys report on the future of automation notes that humans are better than robots at:

  • Spotting new patterns, 
  • Logical reasoning, 
  • Creativity, 
  • Coordination between multiple agents, 
  • Natural language understanding, 
  • Identifying social and emotional states, 
  • Responding to social and emotional states, 
  • Displaying social and emotional states, and 
  • Moving around diverse environments.

The report named four skills where robots matched us and five where they beat us.

Skills where Robots matched humans:
  • Sensory perception – autonomously infer and integrate complex external perception using sensors

  • Output articulation/presentation – deliver outputs/visualizations across a variety of mediums other than natural language

  • Natural language generation – deliver messages in natural language, including nuanced human interaction and some quasi language (e.g. gestures)

  • Fine motor skills/dexterity – manipulate objects with dexterity and sensitivity

Skills where they beat us:
  • Recognizing known patterns/categories (supervised learning) – recognize simple/complex known patterns and categories other than sensory perception

  • Optimization and planning – optimize and plan for objective outcomes across various constraints

  • Information retrieval – search and retrieve information from a large scale of sources (breadth, depth, and degree of integration)

  • Gross motor skills – move objects with multidimensional motor skills

  • Navigation – autonomously navigate in various environments

McKinsey finds that almost half of work activities globally could be automated using current technology. Of course, the robots are getting better.



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