​Surviving the rise of the machines

MYOB report looks at machines capable of independent thought

Dealing with robots capable of independent thought, a concept known as singularity , could be reality in Australia within the next 10 years according to a new report.

The MYOB report, Surviving the Singularity looks at automation and business intelligence. According to the report, retail, business and employment are among the industries set for a shakeup.

For example, people’s performance reviews could be with a robot supervisor within the next decade and drones may take over from courier companies.

According to MYOB CTO Simon Raik-Allen, retail stores in the future won’t sell goods – they will sell experiences.

“Bricks and mortar stores will become showrooms, which emphasise the unique attributes of the product, and allow you to select a product which will be delivered to your home within 24 hours, possibly by drone,” he said.

Other forecasts in the report include the invention of business deal houses where people will book time to meet other companies via hologram.

The job market will also be affected, with the service industry predicted to lose a significant number of jobs to artificial intelligence (AI), including telemarketers, auditors, bank tellers, travel agents, retail salespersons, technical writers, real estate agents and word processors.

“While we are probably not all going to be reporting to a robot, the reality is that a lot of jobs that exist today will be replaced by automation, while roles we’ve not yet thought of will open up,” said Raik-Allen.

“While technology provides us with high efficiency and accuracy, some skills are fundamentally difficult to automate. We still have an advantage over robots for the tasks that require judgment, creative thinking and human interaction.”

However, the future is not all grim for humans, with Raik-Allen predicting that people still want human interaction.

“As the world evolves, in everything from your retail experience to making a business deal, the complex interactions we have with people are likely to become, if anything, more valuable,” the CTO said

He said that small business owners can prepare for the age of AI by digitising their business.

“Get online with a business website and automate as many manual processes as you can.”

“Focus on the customer experience that your product or service delivers. In the age of robotics, human contact will likely become more valuable.”

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