Five ways artificial intelligence is replacing everyday jobs

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is well on its way to making the intricate bots we saw in the movie I, Robot a reality. While they might not be on the verge of a revolution, more and more advancements in the tech world mean they are coming closer to replacing humans. Menial, as well as complicated, tasks that might once have needed the human touch are slowly but surely being replaced with the accuracy of computers.

From cashiers to scientists, here are five tech innovations that are replacing you in the workplace.

Goodbye cashier, hello kiosk

Current affairs website Town Press South Africa reported a McDonald's in New York has rolled out one of the first kiosks to replace cashiers. Customers wait in line to order their meals from a screen, rather than a person. The website also claimed the kiosks would be implemented in all US McDonald's restaurants by 2020. In March this year, NBC News profiled McDonald's Flippy, the first robotic kitchen assistant.

Brainy bugs

Rolls-Royce, known for its top-of-the-line vehicles, is developing tiny “cockroaches” that can perform routine maintenance by crawling into tiny spaces. According to The Next Web, the 15mm robotic roaches will be equipped with cameras. They will also have optics for 3D scanning that will allow them to assess problems remotely. Rolls-Royce technology expert James Cell told The Next Web the roaches were more time efficient than people. “If we did it conventionally, it would take us five hours; with these little robots, who knows, it might take five minutes," he said.

Gif your heart out

We all love a good gif - nothing quite expresses our reactions to news or messages when communicating. Google has built on this by launching Move Mirror, a tech experiment that uses your webcam to personalise gifs and search for similar ones, according to your movements. Who needs a mate to take a pic when their computer-vision model, known as PoseNet, can match the movements of your joints with the 80 000 photos on their database?

Lab experiments — with no hands

Scientists at the University of Glasgow have created a lab assistant who has no hands, robotic or otherwise. The robotic chemist system is comprised of pumps that contain samples of chemicals, which it mixes. The system determines if a chemical reaction has occurred or not through a scoring system. A score of one means the reaction is reactive and a score of zero means it is not. The system can perform up to 36 experiments a day, while handling a maximum of six experiments simultaneously.

Olay's bot is skin deep

Corporate news site VentureBeat reported American skin care line Olay has found success with its web-based beauty specialist Olay Skin Advisor. The AI system which was built by synaptic intelligence company Nara Logics estimates age and skin-care needs, based on a selfie. The programme deduces which of Olay's products the customer would need to use for their specific skin problem. Nara Logics CEO, Jana Eggers, told VentureBeat the AI had engaged over 4 million customers. Skin Advisor has also increased basket size (the number of items sold in a single purchase) - with a 40% increase in China.

Are these tech innovations exciting or a reason to be concerned? Share the tech innovations you have seen lately.

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