In modern life, we spend a lot of time talking about what technology can do. We focus on how machines look set to change our lives, or how robots could transform the future workplace. In some cases, we even consider that robots could rise and leave the human race obsolete.
The good news is that this is not a robot appreciation post. We’re not here to tell you how robots could steal your career or take over your home life. Instead, we’re here to talk about a topic which gets a lot less attention. We’re going to look at the things robots can’t do. Not just that, but we’re going to consider the things they probably never will.
The fact is that, fantastic as technology is, it doesn’t apply to every single thing that we as humans do. This is the reason robots probably won’t take over in true iRobot style. If you find recent technologies like self-service and Alexa unsettling, sit back and remind yourself of the limitations facing even our greatest machinery, if you need help, this is How to set up Alexa.
Given that we’re on the brink of autonomous vehicles, you may assume that automated planes are next on the list. In reality, though, that simply isn’t the case. Research reveals that technology to fly planes without pilots has been in place for a while now thanks to Boeing’s “Uninterruptible Autopilot”. Yet, there’s no evidence that this system has ever been used. Perhaps, then, we should acknowledge that robots could fly planes, yet it looks unlikely that they ever will. This is mainly due to the high costs and also insurance implications of any automated plane systems. With autonomous vehicle accidents showing us what can go wrong without human input, it’s also fair to say that few airlines would want to risk planes filled with customers this way. It seems, then, that aviation courses are still very much the way to go when it comes to flight control. And, that doesn’t look set to change anytime soon.
Anyone can see that technology has changed the healthcare industry a great deal in recent years. New machines make diagnosis and treatment easier than ever, while online booking makes life simpler. Regardless, we can say with some certainty that robots will never replace our doctors altogether. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one involves diagnosis. The fact is that doctors don’t just rely on textbook definitions of illness to reach a satisfactory conclusion of what’s wrong with someone. Instead, they will observe the patient and implement various tests, sometimes to discover that two or even three diagnoses are necessary for treatment. This is something we would soon miss with robots who reach for obvious textbook choices which will never quite make the cut.
Along the same vein, robots and machines will never replace care-based workers. This may seem strange given that robots can do everything from cooking to heavy lifting and so on. But, as any real carer knows, this job is about more than simply caring for a patient’s base needs. Care work is also about empathy, observation, and that human touch. Unsurprisingly, these are things which even the best-programmed machine can’t offer. While a robot could complete the primary job of care, then, it could never do in years what a human carer can achieve after a few months with a new client.
We all know that computers can create basic art. Some artists even use computer-based programs as the substance for what they do these days. Word generators can compose stories, and intelligent machines could even tell tales which make some sense. But, none of that negates the fact that robots and technology will never be able to get creative. Creative thought is, after all, an entirely human trait. A computer system can only ever ‘create’ from information which has been input. It can only use words a programmer gives it, or create pictures based on images in its hard drive. A robot will, therefore, never be in a position to write groundbreaking novels or create art without something to work from.
Machines may be able to change most things in our lives. They may even be able to take our jobs in some industries. But, as can be seen from this list and others like it, there will always be areas that technology can’t reach. By holding onto them, we can use machinery to our benefit while still maintaining lifestyles we can hold onto.