State of world domination

Robots

Scarily, no-one knows exactly how many robots there are on planet Earth, or whether to include those robotised vacuum cleaners on the list. But the general consensus is that there were more than 1.5 million operational worldwide in 2015, and the people at Robotics and Automation News predict that there will be 2.6 million up and running by 2019.

Humans

There are 7.5 billion humans on the planet, and counting, so we’ve got them well-covered for numbers.

They come over here, steal all our jobs

Robots

According to data from the International Federation of Robotics, over the past decade, the number of global industrial robots has grown 72%, while the number of US manufacturing jobs has fallen 16%. They’re coming for you.

Humans

Sure, the heavy and dangerous work that humans used to do in places like motor-vehicle production lines have been taken by robots, but humans can carry out highly complex tasks that are well beyond robots. Can’t they?

Who’s more likely to get a job at Amazon, when it finally takes over the world?

Robots

The global giant already has more than 15,000 Kiva robots on the no-payroll, after buying the company that makes them, for US$775 million in 2012. The droids work in Amazon’s fulfilment centres, look like small bumper cars and can carry shelves that stand three or four metres tall and weigh up to 340 kilograms. They’re also fast. And tireless.

Humans

Yes, humans might have jobs at Amazon for now, but for how long? The company’s proposed new supermarkets, Amazon Go stores, feature almost no human employees and the company is also investing heavily in autonomous trucks to move its merchandise. If you’re good at inventing, or maintaining robots, you might get a look in.

Yes, but can they cook?

Robots

A new multi-tasking robot from Momentum Machines can produce, from scratch, a gourmet hamburger in 10 seconds, leading to predictions it could soon replace the entire kitchen crew at McDonald’s and other fast-food ‘restaurants’.

Humans

Humans can waste their lives flipping burgers, but they are also capable of creating fine cuisine, and coming up with new ways to make food desirable. Like MasterChef.

I think, therefore I am: A robot?

Robots

Famously good at repetitive tasks, robots are now taking the next step. One clever machine created by Universal Robots not only grabs things, paints them, screws them or glues them together and moves them, it is also smart enough to build new parts for itself as they start to wear out or break from being used 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Humans

Yes, but we invented tools, and worked out how to use them. And no other creature does that, except some birds. And monkeys. Who were smart enough not to invent robots.

Here to help

Robots

Robots, of course, are only made to serve humans and make our lives easier. In Japan, where they really love robots, there’s even a hotel entirely staffed by bots (as opposed to just feeling that way in the case of human-run hotels).

Japanese car giants like Toyota have been working on home-help robots for years now, because they see them as being able to help with the huge burden of care for older residents as the country’s population ages rapidly.

Humans

We’re willing to help older humans too. But only if they’re willing to pay for it.

Work conditions and demands

Robots

Robots can, and will, work every hour of every day of forever. They will also do, without complaining, repetitive tasks so boring they would melt the brains of the average human being. In fact, they never complain about anything. Or ask for holidays. Or sick pay. Or pay at all.

Humans

Humans not only want holidays, and shorter working days, and better health benefits, and free tea in the staff room, and dental, and to be praised and promoted, but they’re constantly asking for money, and more of it.
Let’s face it, we’re a bad investment.

So… who’s sexier?

Robots

You might think the notorious “oldest profession in the world” would be safe from robots, but think again. Sex robots are coming and, much like the way porn drove the rapid growth of the internet, sex-bots could also change the world. Abyss Creations is already working on a sex doll with ‘Realbotix’ software.

Humans

Humans, with our warm flesh and blood bodies, are definitely the superior creatures when it comes to attractiveness. We’re better dancers, too.
At least for now…