AI to assist workers with dangerous tasks

CSIRO Data61 cyber-physical systems research director Dr Sue Keay. Image: CSIRO.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to drastically alter societies with its impact on economic and social structures.

The technology is already being adopted in households, businesses and governments and is estimated to generate $13 trillion in economic activity around the world by 2030.

CSIRO Data61 cyber-physical systems research director Dr Sue Keay said robotics and autonomous systems were a critical pillar of AI and they created safer and more productive workplaces, key components to a successful mine.

Keay believes AI systems can help workers as they take on difficult or dangerous tasks, putting themselves at less risk and helping them to get the job done.

“These systems can improve productivity and assist human workers in taking on often dangerous or repetitive tasks, freeing up time for them to engage in higher-value activities,” she said.

“Australia was the first country to automate its ports through the introduction of automated straddle carriers at the port of Brisbane in 2007, while our mining sector has been a rapid adopter of autonomous vehicles and drones.”

Of course, the most common questions from workers as technology continues to advance, surround jobs and what the future holds for workers if AI can solve all the problems for us.

Keay said while some jobs would change, AI would also enhance human intelligence (HI) rather than make it obsolete.

“We need to be sensitive that some jobs will certainly be displaced, but AI will assist and augment human capabilities and create new jobs along the way,” Keay said.

“The World Economic Forum anticipates that by 2022, artificial intelligence is expected to displace 75 million jobs and create 133 million new ones, a net increase of 58 million.

“We need to make sure we can help people to transition into these new jobs.”