Would the rise of the robot augur the fall of humanity? Heico Sandee co-founded the employment agency for robots called Smart Robotics argued, "Humans will always be the creative, decisive force in the equation. At present (in 2017) we have more physical and of course intellectual dexterity. Robots' hands are quite one-dimensional: they can do one task.

"In 20 years or so (say around 2037), however, we think robots will have hands as clever as humans. We are already seeing more robots using accurate 3-D cameras and this, combined with the ability to do a larger range of tasks, will widen their scope … Then we are really looking at more of a revolution … But the Fourth Industrial Revolution will not really take place until robots have 'deep learning' or artificial intelligence. This will enable them to learn from their mistake and improve. Then it will really get interesting."

Jeremy Kahn of 'Bloomberg' highlighted in May 2016, "The world stands poised on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution. Rapid advances in a host of technologies, including artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, robotics, Big Data and data science, genetics, medical imaging and computer vision are combining to alter almost every profession and every industry in potentially radical ways."

By April 2017, 'thehrdirector.com' heralded, "The Fourth Industrial Revolution is already well under way. Emerging technology in fields such as the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing are all combining to drive a change across a range of industries, and this Fourth Industrial Revolution is taking the digital age to the next level."

Speaking to 'thehrdirector.com', Heico Sandee stated, "It started very recently, just a few years ago (say 2011). Many see it as an extension of the Digital Revolution, but there is more to it. We are on the cusp of something huge, no doubt about it – but at present (in 2017) people are talking about it, more than actually doing it. Look at the example of industrial automation; the world is changing fast, but not that fast. In real end-user terms, things have been pretty similar for the last decade (2001-2010).

"At present (in 2017), robots are hired from us to do one core task: in industry they maybe pack, wrap or inspect. So one robot does one job as part of, or at the end of a production line. When that line is finished, so is the demand for that robot. The aim is for that robot to have the ability to do all those tasks, in order to carry out the whole process, while being managed by a human. Then they can work across multiple lines. The limits are removed. Robots communicating with each other. It sounds futuristic, but artificial Intelligence is happening."

Pointing out, "I think people do understand that the change is inevitable," Heico Sandee continued, "Robots are changing the workflow and they will continue to do so. This should be seen as an opportunity, however – the human workforce can leave the more repetitive jobs to the robots. Jobs are created as humans work with the robots and retrain and diversify, and companies grow as people become more versatile."

Lawyer Gerlind Wisskirchen did a study for the International Bar Association, told Zoe Ferguson of the Australian 'ABC News', "We thought it'd just be an insight into the world of automation and blue collar sector. This topic has picked up speed tremendously and you can see it everywhere and read it every day. It's a hot topic now. You can see that when you see jobs that will be replaced by algorithms or robots depending on the sector. There is an increasing gap between legislation in field of employment and labor law and reality. The business world is leaping ahead in huge leaps and disruptive business models, while legislators are inching forward incrementally. This huge gap makes it difficult for the business world and practitioners to deal with."

Futurist Morris Miselowski added, "Artificial intelligence… and all sorts of new technologies are just literally on the horizon, all of that's going to change where, how and when we do work. I'm not convinced that work as we understand it, this nine-to-five, Monday to Friday, is sustainable for many of us for the next couple of decades." Scientist Stefan Hajkowicz observed, "The sort of job losses that we did see in the manufacturing sector in Australia — the car manufacturing sector — are going to get into the administrative services and financial services sector in downtown CBD postcodes and that's the big challenge that lies in front of us. Blockchain and distributive ledger technology, if it plays out the way we think it can, this is the technology that sits behind the bitcoin currency and can be used for smart invoicing or auditing processes."

Chris Brycki pointed out, "Financial services employs about 10% of our (the Australian) workforce and, really, a lot of those jobs are unnecessary. A lot of research analysts, stock pickers, stockbrokers, they don't actually add any end value for the consumer. Apple may be better placed to be a bank, Google might be better placed to be a bank than an actual bank because it has technology to facilitate the transaction. I came in to the industry at the very top — it was around 2006 when I joined. We'll probably never see that level of salaries and bonuses and the craziness in financial services because of the structural changes that are going to happen."

Charlie Kingdollar of 'Gen Re' reported, "The fourth industrial revolution - or Industry 4.0 as it's also referred to - has begun, and it's going to create enormous socio-economic change around the world. IDC, the global intelligence firm, predicts that company spending on artificial intelligence technologies is expected to grow to $47 billion in 2020 from a projected $8 billion in 2016. Business Insider believes that enterprise robotic shipments will nearly triple between 2015 and 2021."

Ben Schiller of 'Fast Company' informed, "A report from UBS, the Swiss financial group, which says a 'fourth industrial revolution' is coming. 'Extreme' automation and connectivity, it says, could automate everything from insurance claims to legal services, forcing many of us to retrain and adapt to a new hyper-computerized reality: 'Minor claims in insurance could be processed without human intervention, most incoming customer queries answered automatically, and many customer calls deflected. In finance, 'robo­advisors' are already available in the market. In the legal world, computers can quickly go through millions of emails and dramatically cut the cost of investigations. And if fewer people are employed in a sector, fewer managers will likely be needed in that sector.'"

In the report, Claudio Lisco of 'UBS' told the public, "Previous industrial revolutions have been driven by rapid advances in automation and connectivity, starting with the technologies that launched the First Industrial Revolution in 18th century England through to the exponential increases in computing power of recent decades. The same two forces that resulted in the previous three industrial revolutions are leading us rapidly to another. 

"The first is extreme automation, the product of a growing role for robotics and artificial intelligence in business, government and private life. The second, extreme connectivity, annihilates distance and time as obstacles to ever deeper, faster communication between and among humans and machines. We expect artificial intelligence (AI) to be a pervasive feature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

"Extreme automation via AI will increasingly automate some of the skills that formerly only humans possessed. Where AI could be poised to make the biggest gains is in big data processing, potentially including the processing of language and images, which have thus far been off-limits for computers to understand. Extreme automation could allow more robots and AI to produce output, analyze results, make complex decisions, and adapt conclusions to environmental factors. 

"Extreme connectivity enables more universal, global and close-to-instant communication. It is giving rise to new business models and is opening up economic supply in ways previously not possible. Indeed, the creation of Uber, the taxi-hailing smartphone app, was only made possible by the explosive increase in portable Internet-enabled devices. Supply effectively created its own demand. Services like Facebook, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram have come to play a pivotal role in the social interaction of citizens around the world. 

"Extreme automation can also be coupled with extreme connectivity, allowing computing systems to control and manage physical processes and respond in ever more 'human' ways. This represents a democratization of the ability to communicate between and among governments, corporates, humans, and machines. The advent of 'cyber-physical systems' may allow robots and AI, via extreme automation and connectivity, to 'cross the chasm' between the technosphere, the natural world, and the human world. 

"These developments, will have significant implications for investors, the global economy and the relative competitiveness of developed and emerging nations. In particular, four areas will be critical to determine success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: availability of capital to finance labor automation and substitution, availability of skilled resources able to manage the new technologies and business models, the development of adequate support infrastructure and ecosystem and, finally but equally important, the development of suitable legal frameworks. In this context flexibility and ability to adapt will be key for individuals, institutions and governments alike."

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