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Editorial

The technology leap - a taste of the future

| By Berit Kvam

Artificial intelligence. The words stimulate the imagination and creativity. What can a robot do? What can 3D technology do for us? How many care sector jobs will be replaced with welfare technology? And imagine what information this editorial might contain if it was written by a robot? This month the Nordic Labour Journal offers a taste of a future with new technology.

“Robots do physical things, people create added value,” says Christina Andersson in the story “Robots can save jobs”. She is one of Finland’s strong voices in the debate about robots in our future working life. A lot of effort is being put into the development of robotic, but it has just started. Robots still lack human skills. 

Traditional industry has developed advanced production methods and products have been refined. There is no longer space for workers without the right skills. What's now needed is operators of new technology. But highly advanced production systems rely on people using all of their senses creatively; smell, taste, vision, hearing, touch - they’re all necessary skills to control and adjust the process.   

Sverker Johanssen has written between eight and nine percent of all Wikipedia’s entries, using his computer robot Lsjbot. She selects facts and assembles the information, but her entries are not often read. They lack juice. They’re too dry. A photographer wanted to create the perfect portrait using a robot and 600 photos, but the subject’s soul disappeared. The picture might be a perfect rendition, but at the same time an impossibility.

“Robot journalism pushes the boundaries for what’s possible,” but it has major limitations. 

Denmark is investing heavily in welfare technology. The government wants the public sector to sign up to using welfare technology in places like nursing homes to save labour. So far the results have not been convincing, but still: “I have become more independent” says Svend Erik Christensen.

And 3D, how can we use that technology? We’re on the brink of a breakthrough, our report promises.

There seems to be a leap in technological progress in many areas. But no-one knows what opportunities might arise in working life from the combination of artificial intelligence and electromechanics. For now, we humans are miles ahead with all of our senses. Not least because of our ability to be excited over what is happening.

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