Your Newest Coworker Could Soon Be a Robot

By: James Flippin · March 31, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Meet Digit

With useful AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, artificial intelligence is already becoming a norm in the modern workplace. Now, Oregon-based engineering firm Agility Robotics has announced that its humanoid robot will be ready to get to work soon as well.

Agility Robotics’ robot, called Digit, is designed for warehouse work and will be able to work alongside humans to lift and carry “anything that a person would handle,” according to the company’s CEO, Damion Shelton. The robot will measure 5’9”, weigh 140 pounds, and be capable of charging itself.

Agility Robotics expects to begin Digit deliveries by 2025.

The *Robotic* Arms Race

In the midst of the current labor shortage, employers are turning to automation and AI as alternatives to raising wages. Investing in robots is more expensive upfront, but could save companies more in labor costs over the years.

Agility Robotics is just one of a handful of companies currently hurrying to create working robots. Tesla (TSLA), Figure, and Sanctuary AI are among those building robots designed specifically to augment workplaces.

Your Job Is Safe

Trepidation toward automation is not a new thing. In fact, the “killer robot” trope is more than a century old. But as robotics and AI become part of daily life, more and more people express concerns that humanoid robots like Digit will replace blue collar workers, while generative AI tools like ChatGPT replace white collar workers. However, this is unlikely to happen.

Experts at the World Economic Forum predict that robots will replace jobs — but only repetitive or dangerous tasks that are less attractive to humans. At the same time, the influx of new technology will likely create new job categories based around monitoring, optimizing, and troubleshooting the robots.

Ultimately, the World Economic Forum landed on its own sci-fi prediction: the “number of jobs destroyed will be surpassed by the number of ‘jobs of tomorrow’ created.” Fortunately, the reality looks to be far less dystopian than the fiction.

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