Robots could be doing your job by 2035 – here's what small businesses predict

Robots could be doing your job by 2035 – here's what small businesses predict

February 24, 2022

MORE than half of small business owners believe they'll be employing ROBOTS by the year 2035. 

A study of 500 SME owners found four in 10 think artificial intelligence will be used for tidying the workplace, carrying out hazardous tasks and for entertainment reasons.

As many as 43% believe robots will be stacking shelves and making products and a further 41% believe they will replace customer services entirely.

With energy prices on the rise, 41% also think they’ll be reliant on renewable sources to power this advancement in technology.

Although three quarters think it is hard to imagine what a workplace will look link in 13 years’ time as it’s likely to be so different to the present day.

Fflur Lawton, head of public affairs at Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the research, said: "How businesses operate day to day is changing and the advancement in Robotics and AI is an exciting prospect for many.

“But upgrading our energy system is key to integrating more renewable power and achieving these possibilities.

"Getting a smart meter installed on your business premises is a step in the right direction for Great Britain and will help your business take control of its energy use.”

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In response to the research, futurologist Ian Pearson claims people may be overestimating the importance of flexible working and underestimating the importance of robots and AI when it comes to the future of work.

And he says certain industries are more likely to be impacted by robots and AI than others.

He said: "A small accountancy firm could be entirely run by AI and there's no reason why, in theory, we couldn't have a robot hairdresser which does the perfect cut with measurements and laser beams.  

“But human contact and the emotional aspect that comes with certain jobs is a vital part of their appeal, as these are jobs which are part of the 'care economy'.

"Lots of people like the experience of human contact and the emotional aspect which comes with it – that can’t be replaced.

“When it comes to hairdressers, machines could cut your hair – lasers to make sure each part of your hair is perfectly cut – but a robot can’t replicate the conversations which go with it.

“The same goes with the care sector, like nurses and doctors, and the emotional support they provide.”

The research also found nearly eight in 10 respondents think working from home will be normal in 2035.

Although male leaders are more likely to support the move to remote working (52%) than females (38%).

Business owners are expecting customers to increasingly want more ethically sourced goods and more eco-friendly practices, resulting in nearly a third opting to reduce plastic in products and have a smart meter installed.

But 52% also predict they will need to cut overheads in order to survive, and more than a third are keen to reduce energy costs and be more eco-friendly in turn.

And two thirds agree improving their company’s eco friendliness will help profitability and the same amount think it would make a company more of an attractive proposition to investors.

So, in turn, businesses are planning to recycle more (36%), transition to hybrid/electric vehicles (33%) and install a smart meter (32%).

As many as 68% of those planning to install a smart meter want an accurate reading of their energy usage and 67% think it’s better for the planet, according to the OnePoll research.

Fflur Lawton from Smart Energy GB added: “As a nation we're finding ways to be more environmentally conscious but also better manage our bills and this is no different for businesses.

"Getting a smart meter installed at work is one small way to do both.”

The rise of AI and robotics means "terminator dogs" could be deployed to patrol borders.

Last year, a Terminator-style AI drone was said to ‘hunt down’ human targets without being given orders.

Some even wonder whether AI could wipe out humanity entirely.

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