McKinseys report on the future of automation notes that humans are better than robots at:
- Spotting new patterns,
- Logical reasoning,
- 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.