Bill Gates: Robots Are Going To Take Our Jerbs

Bill Gates: Robots Are Going To Take Our Jerbs
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

They took our jerrrrrrbbbbbbsss…

It’s always been the nightmare: a world filled with robots that do everything. But Bill Gates has a gentler phrase for it. He calls it “software substitution” and he claims it’s going to happen whether we like it or not.

“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses… it’s progressing,” he said. “Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set… 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”

A robot serving me food? That would sort of be awesome. The only sad thing is that said robot probably won’t be a C3PO style babbling buffoon serving me food. It’ll most like be an iPad on wheels. Or something like that.

But it’s not just menial jobs that will be getting phased out (and I say menial with great respect — being a waiter was probably the hardest job I’ve ever had) professional roles like accountants, real estate agents and airline pilots may also be phased out.

Bill Gates: Yes, robots really are about to take your jobs [BGR]


  • As a professional slacker I feel reasonably comfortable in my future job prospects……….though I will miss my morning nap to ponder the implications…………

  • Eh, I’d say we’re still a long way off. We can’t even get Google Maps working on our phones.

  • Are we REALLY worried about robots taking over McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, KFC etc? One needs only look over at Lifehackers fast food reviews to understand why this is an EXCELLENT idea…

  • I remember the same thing being said like 20 years ago.

    Obviously robots have found a place in some industries, but with a technological climate that prefers slow progression, I think I will see an iPhone 12S before a humanoid robot takes my job

    • And in 20 years it has been a growing trend.

      People think of robots as being Bender, but what about an ATM? Or an automated parking garage or car wash? Those are things which used to employ humans but now use robots.

      A relative works for a major beer company – their entire production process can pretty much operate with 5-10 humans, because the rest is fully automated.

      A mate of mine works for a company that makes packaging robots – what they can do now is terrifying.

      The military is using drones instead of pilots, some fully automated.

      And some people are buying roombas instead of paying a cleaner.

      I’m sure there are more examples. I just went to Japan, and the level of automation there was very impressive indeed.

      • Oh I understand it.

        ‘I was just reminded of those old books in primary school with couloured pencil illustrations showing people in the “future” using robots with the comment, “In 10 years time people will be working alongside robots!!”
        I won’t even go in to the living on the moon and flying cars.

  • This is realistically not going to be a wide spread thing in Australia for at least 30-40 years, yes there will be software automation for administrative work around the place but robots as nurses? We will be quite old by the time we actually get it here.

    • Damn foreigners, always coming here to take jobs away from people who aren’t qualified for the field or already turned it down so they don’t have to cancel their unemployment payments.

      My grandfather didn’t fight in a non existant war so the government could let this happen!! Quick, everyone jump in my panel van and lets go to Cronulla!!

      Sorry, I am amusing myself more than anything

      • So how this really works is your company decides to outsource your job to another company to lower costs. That company is able to offer a lower price than the existing costs because instead of hiring local talent, they bring in people on rotating visas. Not only do these people earn less, but they are pressured into doing extra hours unpaid, for fear of being sent back home (commonly India).

        I say this as someone who is friends with many of these people working on visas, who are very talented and motivated individuals (and in lots of cases, are genuinely better employees than the people they replaced).

        My problem however is that nobody in these situations wins except for the ones at the top.

        Professionals lose their jobs and find themselves in a job market increasingly filled with similar people.

        Workers on visas are overworked and underpaid, with the employer making huge profits.

        And the company that outsourced the work in the first place generally doesn’t end up saving that much, as the outsourcing agreements are poorly negotiated and fail to take into account the efficiencies lost by not having everyone working together and with good lines of communication, which impacts both the employees and visa workers.

        However the executives who decided to lower their costs by outsourcing jobs still get their high pays and big bonuses.

        At the end of the day, those with more will continue to find ways to acquire even more, which leaves less for everyone else.

    • It would appear @drchicken is a bit oblivious to what the gov’t has just done and relaxed the laws on the 457 work visas, which is just what this country did not need.

      • My wife had to train her replacement up before she got made redundant, they couldn’t even speak English!

    • If you were so incompetent at your job you lost it to someone who speaks English as a second language, is dealing with relocating to an entire different country/culture and is prepared to do it for less, you didn’t deserve it in the first place.

      • Industries and technologies change. You don’t have to be bad at your job to be a victim of cost cutting.

        • I agree with you and understand your point, but he said it was taken by someone with a Visa, i.e. locally, so he lost his job to someone being paid a very similar wage under the conditions I originally mentioned.

          Offshoring I understand, everyone’s job is at risk then it’s being pushed to countries with a lower minimum wage, but if you lost your job to a local migrant (no negative connotation here, I want to make sure it’s not taken the wrong way) then you plain and simple weren’t good enough at it.

          • It’s often not that simple, though. We have the idea that only low-skill jobs go offshore, but this is specifically a 457 Visa issue. It’s for highly skilled immigrants.

            Essentially, an immigrant comes in with a contract to work for 6 months or one year under 457. They are from poorer countries, so they accept a wage a lot lower than a local who knows the market and knows what that job is ‘worth’ in this country. They do the work, take home a nice little packet of money (it being worth more in their home country) and the company brings anew one to do the same. The company gets the work for a lot less and the money goes overseas while a local who is able to do it has to work in a lower-paid industry and can’t work in their field.

            I’m more often than not completely against the whole ‘took our jobs’ stuff, but in this case it is an actual issue. Loosening the 457 visa restrictions basically gave large companies free reign to offshore jobs without them actually appearing to be offshore.

          • I see, I wasn’t aware of that, refreshing to have a conversation about immigration and employment that didn’t devolve into racism, thanks!

      • Mate, it was a tongue in cheek joke. I still have my job, which I am very grateful for, since it took me 3 years to get anywhere, plus I have my doubts that they would give it to a foreigner anyway.

  • It is happening, but mostly by software and kiosks rather than by bots.

    A lot of people use e-tax to prepare their tax returs rather than using an accountant any more.
    A lot of people prefer the ‘self checkout’ robots at Woolies rather than going to the lanes with humans on them.
    Voice operated directory assistant rather than the old telephone operator.
    Voice recognition phone menus rather than receptionists.
    Word processors, iphone calendars etc. instead of secretaries
    etc. etc.

    • Prefer the self checkouts? More like we don’t have a choice. Well, if the checkout human is available I’ll go there instead of the machine.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!