By 2033, experts predict 39% of domestic tasks will be handled by robots

a stock photo of a robot doing laundry

According to experts, in ten years, about 39% of the time spent on housework and caring for loved ones could be automated.

65 experts in artificial intelligence (AI) were consulted by researchers from the UK and Japan to make predictions about how much common household work will be automated in the next ten years.

While caring for the young or elderly was predicted to be least likely to be affected by AI, experts predicted that grocery shopping was likely to see the most automation.

The study has been released in the PLOS ONE journal.

When it comes to unpaid domestic work, researchers from the University of Oxford and Japan's Ochanomizu University wanted to know: "If robots will take our jobs, will they at least also take out the trash for us?".

The researchers noted that robots "for domestic household tasks," like robot vacuum cleaners, "have become the most widely produced and sold robots in the world.".

For their predictions on robots in the home, the team consulted 29 AI experts from the UK and 36 AI experts from Japan.

Researchers discovered that Japanese experts were more pessimistic about domestic automation than their male counterparts, while the opposite was true in the UK. .

However, the tasks that experts believed automation could perform varied: "Only 28% of care work, including activities like teaching your child, going on adventures with your child, or caring for an elderly family member is predicted to be automated," said Dr. Lulu Shi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute.

On the other hand, experts predicted that technology would reduce the time we spend grocery shopping by 60%.

Skepticism may be warranted because many predictions regarding the automation of household tasks have been made in the past.

There is a long history of predictions that robots will relieve us of household duties "in the next ten years.". Tomorrow's World, a 1960s television program, featured a home robot that could do a variety of household chores, including cooking, walking the dog, watching the baby, shopping, and mixing drinks.

The news report stated that the device could be operational by 1976 if its creators were given just £1 million.

The promise of self-driving cars being on the streets and replacing taxis has been there, I believe, for decades now. However, we haven't quite been able to make robots function well, or these self-driving cars navigate the unpredictable environment of our streets, according to Ekaterina Hertog, associate professor in AI and Society at Oxford University and one of the study's authors. Homes are comparable in that regard.

It's difficult and expensive to create a robot that can perform multiple or general tasks, according to Dr. Kate Devlin, reader in AI andamp; Society at King's College, London, who was not involved in the study. Instead of replacing us with assistive technology, she argued, doing so is simpler and more beneficial.

According to the research, domestic automation could reduce the amount of time spent on unpaid household tasks. Men of working age perform less than a fifth of this unpaid work in Japan compared to working age women in the UK.

According to Prof. Hertog, women's earnings, savings, and pensions are negatively impacted by the disproportionate amount of household work they must do. Therefore, the researchers say, greater gender equality could result from increased automation.

Technology, though, can be pricey. According to Prof. Hertog, if systems to help with housework are only affordable to a portion of society, "that is going to lead in a rise of inequality, in in free time.".

She also stated that society must be aware of the problems caused by smart automation in homes, "where an equivalent of Alexa is able to listen in and sort of record what we're doing and report back.".

I don't believe our society is ready to handle that general assault on privacy.

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