Robots will outnumber humans in 30 years

Monday, 23rd April 2018, 10:12 am
Updated Monday, 23rd April 2018, 10:13 am

A leading expert has predicted that there will be more robots than humans by the year 2048.

The earth's robot population will grow to 9.4bn in the next thirty years, outnumbering the human population, according to futurologist Dr Ian Pearson.

The research shows that even a modest growth of 20 per cent per year will see humans outnumbered before 2050.

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However, this could be sooner in the event of rapid market uptake in technology, which would see robots overtaking humans as early as 2033.

Dr Ian Pearson also predicts that robots could become 'emotionally intelligent' as soon as 2028.

The research was commissioned by streaming service NOW TV who also created an ultra-realistic humanoid robot to launch Westworld Season Two. The show takes place in a dystopian future and explores the dawn of artificial intelligence, and will be available to stream on NOW TV from Monday 23rd April.

A study of 2,000 Brits shows that we have concerns about science fiction becoming fact. Seven in ten of us (71 per cent) fear the rise of artificially intelligent robots in society and nearly six in ten (59 per cent) believe robots are a threat to the future of humanity.

And more than half of those surveyed (54 per cent) believe scientists won’t be able to be control the rise of artificially intelligent robots.

Man - machine

Leading futurologist Dr Ian Pearson said: “Today the global robot population is probably around 57 million. That will grow quickly in the foreseeable future and by 2048 robots will overtake humans.

"If we allow for likely market acceleration, that could happen as early as 2033. By 2028, some of those robots will already be starting to feel genuine emotions and to respond to us emotionally”.

Emma Quartly, marketing director at NOW TV, added: “Although we are still a long way away from creating artificially intelligent hosts as sophisticated as those in Westworld, the research from Dr Pearson suggests that a world populated by human-like robots might not be as far off as we think."

With fears of a robot takeover on the horizon, two-thirds (62 per cent) of Brits admit they are worried or afraid about the prospect of robots outnumbering humans.

Another two thirds (60 per cent) of us would feel worried or afraid living with a human-like robot and almost eight in ten (79 per cent) of respondents would be concerned about human-like robots interacting with their children.

Rise of the robots

In response to what frightens us most about the rise of robots; almost half (43 per cent) of the Brits surveyed are afraid that robots will take control of society, almost four in ten (37 per cent) fear robots could become more intelligent than humans and over a third (34 per cent) worry robots could reduce their chances of getting a new job.

Furthermore, a quarter (25 per cent) of respondents fear they might not be able to tell robots and humans apart and 16 per cent are afraid of the possibility that one day humans could have relationships with robots.

An alarming 40 per cent of those surveyed believe a robot could do their job just as well, if not better than them.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of Brits admit to feeling worried or afraid about robots becoming emotionally intelligent.

And when faced with the question as to whether human emotions entitle robots to human rights, the majority (62 per cent) said they don’t believe emotionally intelligent robots should be entitled to human and legal rights and over seven in ten (72 per cent) don’t think they should be granted citizenship.

The top 10 industries Brits believe will be dominated by robots:

1. Manufacturing – 72%

2. Automotive/transport – 62%

3. Construction – 43%

4. Agricultural – 36%

5. Administrative – 34%

6. Military – 33%

7. Finance/accountancy - 28%

8. Retail/sales - 28%

9. Healthcare /medical – 25%

10. Marketing/advertising – 21%