Will Big Data Cost You Your Job?

Has this sentence you’re reading right now been written by a human being or a robot?

Don’t feel badly if you haven’t got the answer to this Big Data Turing test. The combination of recent advances in robotics with the rapid development of Big Data analytics has the potential to permanently change the working landscape, including automating many jobs that are now being handled by humans.

At least, that’s the draconian scenario presented by Bernard Marr, head of the Advanced Performance Institute, in a recent issue of the Smart Data Collective.

Marr’s ruminations began when he spotted a Google self-driving car on a Silicon Valley freeway. Now he sees examples of intelligent robots empowered by Big Data analytics all around us and says this is only the beginning.

For example, aircraft – both commercial and military – are being flown by automated systems. Robots are assisting – and in some instances supplanting – doctors. Hook up with a call center and you may find yourself in an animated conversation with a natural language system. Even, alas, journalists are vulnerable; for example, automated software has been developed to write sports stories or an overview of a company’s performance using Big Data and some super smart algorithms.

Put together robots with big data analytics and you have a powerful mix that could challenge us for most of our jobs,” Marr writes. “Big data analytics allows us to leverage large amounts of structured and unstructured as well as fast-moving data such as real time conversations on text, email and social media, video images, photos, data from location sensors in our phones, etc. Put this ability into a robot and they will not just threaten to replace lower-skilled jobs such as assembly line workers or supermarket personnel but now they have their eyes on doctors, pilots and journalists too!”

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