Mass automation will have an impact across the various sectors of the economy and touch many industries.  Research organizations are working now to determine what will happen as technology advances and human jobs will be partially or fully replaced by a machine.

It’s been a question at the center of decades of science fiction, and one that’s taken on increasing real-world urgency as we try to anticipate how the advancing artificial intelligence revolution will transform the way we work and live.

An emerging consensus suggests that two characteristics make humans distinct from machines: care and empathy. Machines may trounce humans at repetitive, predictable, and production-heavy jobs. But technology still falls behind with tasks that require context, nuance, constant adaptation, and emotional intelligence.

In this video, Fuji Lai discusses her work in bridging the gap between robots, machines, and providing care to humans:

The Japanese have a different perspective:

In anticipation of care shortages for its rapidly aging population, it’s been pouring money into producing caretaker automatons. In the past few years, Japanese developers have created Robear, a ursinelike machine that can carry patients from their wheelchairs to their beds; HAL, a cheekily named bionic suit designed to assist wearers with challenging motor tasks like getting out of bed or walking; and Paro, a painfully adorable companion bot in the form of a baby harp seal (made famous in some circles by an episode of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None). Japan’s car companies have also contributed to the boom. Honda, for example, recently released ASIMO, a humanlike machine that can push a cart, carry a tray, and turn on lights. Not to be outdone, Toyota came out with an entire line of helper machines, including Human Support Robot, Walk Assist Robot, Care Assist Robot, and Robina and Humanoid, which both help with housework. To round out the family, it also created the eyebrow-raising Kirobo, a baby robot designed to keep childless womensolo drivers, and other supposedly lonely people company.

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