Futurists predict that we are facing changes in the workplace with expectations of rampant automation. Isaac Asimov, the hero of modern science fiction, has been credited with procreating the term “robotics” in one of his stories-iRobot. Roughly six decades down the line the word is now commonly used without any fictional aspect involved in it. A huge number of businesses are now replacing real workers with automated software to perform a wide range of tasks. The question now is whether movers will be replaced with robots in the near future? To come to a conclusion on this, we need to know the type of tasks done by robots.
Most of the work done by robots involves transferring massive amounts of data from various sources like spreadsheets and emails to record systems. The jobs are normally of high volume, heavily repetitive and not meant for the human mechanism. Robots can easily work on repetitive tasks continuously and tirelessly, and are welcomed in many businesses since they do the work which humans would normally despise.
Humans will always remain humans
Even though automation and technology have streamlined operations, eventually downsizing workforces, there has been a lot of discussion on some human traits which will never be replaced by machines. After all, some skills aren’t a good fit for automation, especially when it comes to the moving industry.
A study carried out by researchers at Oxford Martin School in Oxford University in the year 2013 found that 47% of the present jobs in the US might be automated within the next two decades. However, no matter how hard scientists try, some human skills cannot be automated. According to the study, there are three kinds of jobs that involve these skills.
- Understanding of complicated ideas and their manipulation
These skills are performed in a disorganized work ambience. They require handling of irregular objects or tangible feedback. A moving company is an ideal example of a role involving these skills. For objects with irregular shapes like decorative figures, statues, porcelain cup etc, it’s very important to choose boxes of the right size, which requires human intelligence. These fragile items have to be sorted out properly so that they remain intact during the move.
Each cup needs to be wrapped individually and meticulously with layers of old newspapers or a layer of bubble wraps, or with a soft material. If you take the services of a professional moving company, they will create special card boxes with shelves and holes to store cups and other objects having irregular shapes. Now, if a robot was asked to do the job, it would not be able to protect each item individually and pack them in the right boxes since this activity requires tremendous intelligence which cannot be achieved with the help of software.
- Artificial life, artificial values, artificial experience
Robots can certainly make choices based on the available data; however, this is vastly different from a “wise judgment”. You make judgments based on values and values evolve from your experience in life. Robots have not yet experienced life the way humans know. And so, they don’t inculcate the so called “values”. The decisions they take cannot be labeled as judgments. In the same manner, they lack a meaningful basis on which to set or choose objectives or goals.
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Movers are professionals and posses an enriching experience that can make your move easy. They know how things can be done best. The team can handle any type of moving task with utter ease and without creating any hassles. Just relax and let them do their job, and more importantly, remember that your goods are being dealt by a human and not a robot.
- Social intelligence
Social intelligence is an important aspect for professions involving high-touch care, leadership, persuasion, or negotiation. The present day movers are more than a truck that comes to your door and pick your stuff before moving. The fact is that they come with a whole range of services like estimating the moving costs, providing all the necessary information on your relocation and also packing. You cannot expect a robot to give you an in-person estimate or provide tailor-made answers since they lack social intelligence.
A legitimate moving company will encourage you to ask questions related to the move. These include insurance terms, a rough estimate of the move, hidden charges if any, number of employees in the company and much more. Such one-to-one talk cannot be held with a robot since it is programmed in such a way to carry out a task repetitively without the use of intelligence.
New study by Japanese researchers show that robots could perhaps replace a moving company
Strength is a very common trait among robots; however, in some cases, it’s still more crucial on how the strength is channelized. If you’ve ever moved a refrigerator, it’s obvious that the wisest thing to do is to push or pull the object instead of lifting it. Researchers at JSK Laboratory at the University of Tokyo recently developed a robot similar to a human, which works on the logic of pulling, pushing and scooting large objects. It uses great crouches and posture besides bracing itself so well that if a human was used instead, he would be safeguarding his back from the generated strain.
The researchers Kei Okada and Masayuki Inaba programmed the HRP-2 model of the robot in such a way that it approached large objects with a set of motions, similar to pushing with forearms, shoulders, or with its back against the objects. Similar to human, the robot was found to automatically try out different motions until it found a feasible and easy way to move the objects.
Initially, the robot finds the weight and dimensions of the object besides the friction it creates against the floor’s surface, and then comes up with the right moving posture. The first few attempts always reduce the force manipulations, and with each attempt, the force keeps on increasing. The researchers also found that the robot was pretty stable on its feet. They have programmed the robot to attune its footsteps based on the distance it’s able to move the object.
Watch this short video to see how the robot moves objects of various sizes.
Movers today don’t only move furniture. Some movers specialize in moving motor cycles, boats, cars and even the whole building. Computers are now affecting the field in a major way-from GPS tracking of vehicles and shipments to tracking of shipments in a warehouse facility and computerized estimating of the moving costs. This particular trend is growing rapidly and managers need to know how to effectively use these tools to provide the best customer service while reducing the cost, says Paul Van Remortel, owner of a major moving company.
Graham Acreman, vice-president of a moving company, states that some important skills of a mover like perseverance, accounting skills, effective communication, motivation skills and great management skills are aspects that cannot be handed over to machines. He adds that there are tough decisions to be made in the job like making the customer happy or getting the truck in a garage for immediate report work, which require dexterity and acumen.
Moving companies that want to establish further need to build credibility and a solid reputation. This indicates dealing effectively with all kinds of consumer complaints, which translates to the involvement of a real humans and not machines. Common complaints like delayed pickups, damaged or lost items and late deliveries have given a bad reputation to the industry. A robot can do nothing much in such a scenario. It cannot please a customer or make him understand. What the moving industry now needs are real human beings with a passion for growth and success.
A robot’s intelligence solely depends on its database. Also, it does not have the capability to invent things. This magnificent power only resides with humans. So, it’s impossible for them to take over human intelligence. For the unforeseeable future, the question of where robots and humans share joint custody of the moving industry still remains unclear. Until then, having robots not mimic humans seems like a sensible place to draw the line. Only jobs that are repetitive or dangerous should be replaced by robots. As far as moving is concerned, ABC Movers, are always there to help you with their real professionals and first class customer service. And, the best part is they don’t use robots.