Robotics & Geopolitics: Automation Fears Require Policy Experts; Denmark Joins AI Race
Denmark's Carlsberg is using AI to predict how beer will taste. Source: Carlsberg
July 20, 2018
The need to stay economically competitive and to be seen as a global leader is driving many international initiatives around robotics and artificial intelligence. However, developers, suppliers, and end users must be able to respond to automation fears and ethical concerns. This week, we look at how Denmark is focusing on AI, a U.S. automation council, and the inevitability of autonomous weapons.
Robotics Business Review has partnered with Abi shur Prakash at Center for Innovating the Future to provide its readers with cutting-edge insights into recent developments in international robotics, AI, and unmanned systems. Are you ready to be updated?
Denmark aims at becoming an AI leader
Robotics development: Danish brewer Carlsberg has been using AI to âpredictâ how a beer will taste. Carlsberg is doing this to reduce costs associated with mixing chemicals in labs to see how different beers might taste.
Equally important is that it is impossible for Carlsberg to taste every beer they concept. Through AI, the process is simplified.
Geopolitical significance: While countries such as the U.S., China, and Israel get most of the attention in the AI world, other countries are on the move, too. One of them is Denmark.
Danish AI is being used in gas stations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to control prices at the pump. Emergency dispatchers across Europe are t esting Danish AI to tell if an emergency caller is having a cardiac arrest. Businesses in Copenhagen are tapping the Danish Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence to predict customer demand for a product or even develop new products.
The Danish government is planning to use AI to decide which people and businesses will receive welfare payments and grants. It has also unveiled a $155 million strategy called âDigital Growthâ to help businesses take advantage of new technologies, including AI. In addition, Denmark is exploring the creation of a âdata ethics councilâ to help create policies for privacy in the age of AI.
Denmark is also a signatory to a resolution between the Nordic and Baltic states to establish the region as an AI hub. And Denmark was one of 24 European Union (EU) members to sign an AI pact.
Copenhagen, Denmark. Source: ClipArt.com
As AI leadership decides which countries matter, Denmark is buzzing with activity and innovations that could benefit the world.
My company, Center for Innovating the Future, in partnership with the Danish Technical Institute (DTI), held an event last year in Copenhagen called âCEO 2025,â which received a huge response. More than 100 executives and policymakers attended, showing that in Denmark, there is great interest in the future.
For robotics companies thinking about which markets to enter or where to find talent, Denmark might be easy to overlook. Perhaps thatâs an advantage for Denmark. Because itâs a small country in Northern Europe, it isnât in the spotlight like China or Japan. But this means Denmark can work on AI without interference.
By the time the world catches on to Denmarkâs leadership in automation, the Nordic country may be mile s ahead of much of Europe â" and the world.
As U.S. convenes council amid automation fears, businesses should appoint policy experts
Robotics development: Several large U.S. corporations, such as IBM, Lockheed Martin, and General Motors, have joined an automation council led by the White House.
The council will work with the U.S. government to outline automation policies and train workers with new skills. The goal of the council is to prepare the U.S. for job displacement that could arise as AI and robotics are adopted by more companies.
Geopolitical significance: By 2030, automation could threaten 800 million jobs, claims one study. In the U.S. alone, up to 73 million jobs could disappear. Whether or not tens of millions of jobs actually disappear, forward-thinking nations are preparing policies today based on automation fears and perceptions. These policies could define how robotics and AI firms operate in the future .
More on Robotics Policies and Automation Fears
- Manufacturing Reshoring From Robotics Hasnât Happened â" Yet, Says Study
- WPI Team Creates Security Robot for Air Force Challenge
- Finding New Ways to Address the Robotics Skills Gap
- Swarm Robotics: New Horizons in Military Research
- Robot Taxes a Hot Topic at We Robot 2018 Legal Conference
- Small Companies Fuel Automation Wave in Denmark
- Royal Navy Demoes Maritime Automomous Systems
- How Robots Can Help Your Small Business
For example, a ballot initiative in San Francisco could introduce taxes on ride-sharing firms, Internet companies â" and self-driving cars. Similar taxation ideas are being explored in Europe and Asia. Automation fears may push governments to implement robot taxes.
Another study in the U.S. asserted that between 1990 and 2007, every robot introduced resulted in three to 5.6 local jobs disappearing. And, for ever y robot added per 1,000 workers, wages in the area supposedly dropped between 0.25% to 0.5%. How will robotics and AI firms operate if their services are being taxed at 10% or 30%?
As with migration, automation fears will be politicized as a way to attract voters. With millions of jobs said to be at risk, candidates and political parties will begin to campaign on protecting workers from robots.
At the same time, unions could introduce policies that affect how companies purchase automation technologies. Last month, casino workers in Las Vegas threatened to strike because of automation fears.
Earlier this year, 260,000 UPS workers (part of the Teamsters union) began talks with UPS over a new contract that includes protections from automation. If UPS agrees to these measures, will it slow down its robotics strategy?
None of this even touches on how automation fears could lead to social unrest or radical politics, new geopolitical challenges. The actual effec ts of robots on jobs are still being studied and debated. Enterprises large and small canât just dismiss automation fears, because governments that believe the warnings will act accordingly.
Instead, robotics and AI companies should appoint public-policy heads to work with governments. Experts who understand how countries, states, and cities will react to automation fears can design policies to address worker and public concerns before they adversely affect corporate operations.
Picking Robots - Ready for Primetime?
July 31, 2018 | 2:00 PMJoin Carl Vause, CEO at Soft Robotics, and Eugene Demaitre, Senior Editor at Robotics Business Review, for a webcast on the various approaches to machine manipulation, the pros and cons of each, and major providers in this space.