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Workers Should Prepare for Robotics Takeover

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Technology enthusiasts say that without taking a deliberate policy to skill the next generation of workers, robots and machine intelligence will push millions of people out of industrial, agriculture, financial and infrastructure sectors into a vicious cycle of poverty.
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Technology experts are calling on government and training institutions to prepare the next generation of the workforce for an aggressive world of robotics and artificial intelligence machines. 

They say without taking a deliberate policy to skill the next generation of workers, robots and machine intelligence will push millions of people out of industrial, agriculture, financial and infrastructure sectors into a vicious cycle of poverty. 

They say the dawn of that machine intelligence has already arrived into the country in the forms of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the various banking halls, Smartphones, Drones and Hi-tech warfare capabilities.   

Solomon King Benge, the Founder of Fundi Bots, a non-profit organization accelerating science learning in Uganda says that general intelligence, Artificial Narrow Intelligence and Super Artificial Intelligence machines, are taking the world by storm.

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Most robots and machine intelligence perform pre-programmed tasks using sets of coded instructions. For instance, by studying how former President Barrack Obama speaks, a robot was used to fabricate statements which he never actually said to cause uproar towards him. The experts say, at this rate, it will be easy to frame many people in criminal activities and acts of pornography. 

According to Benge, most of the jobs that will be lost to robots and intelligent machines will include manual and very dangerous jobs involving sets of repetitive procedures which humans dread as cumbersome or time-consuming. He cites stamping of big volumes of papers and moving loads back and forth around the rooms, offices or industries.

Benge says the most feared form of artificial intelligence that scientists believe will replace the majority of the human workforce is known as Super Artificial Intelligence, although it is yet to be developed at a global level.

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The experts say that for the next workforce to survive the Robotics takeover, the government must put in place favourable mechanisms for training, innovation, orientation and regulation.

Benge adds that the human generation must be highly skilled in creative thinking, hold a high degree of empathy for humanity and develop high levels of competencies in decision making which those machines are ordinarily incapable of executing.

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Dr Robinah Nakawunde Kulabako, a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at Makerere University agrees with Benge’s position. She says there is hope in the coming world of robots and machine intelligence since they are basically trained and programmed to follow basic instructions without critical thinking in unpredicted circumstances.       

Dr Nakawunde says the government should prepare citizens to capitalize on the weak links of robots and machine intelligence to prevent loss of livelihoods.

“Where Machines have taken over, we will require human intelligence to engage in complex activities beyond the intelligence level of the machines. This will require training, change in policies and legislations” she stated.     

Alice Namuli Blazevic, the Head of Technology and Innovation at Katende, Ssempebwa and Company Advocates says the world of robots and machine intelligence will bring better efficiency including wiping out corruption, delays in service deliveries and job creations when harnessed by those who are prepared for it.      

The technology enthusiasts were speaking at the geopolitics Conference taking place at Makerere University under the theme: The Machines Are Taking Over.      

Silver Kayondo, the Founder of Drone Nerds Africa, a Ugandan technology hub specializing in building drones says the government must take bold steps to understand the unseen opportunities in the emerging technology arena for better data protection and military capability as Africa presents itself as the frontier for testing potent technologies.       

“When we ignore what the 4th industrial revolution is bringing towards us; we risk many things with our location in sub-Saharan Africa where many tropical diseases are common. We need to understand the impact with which some of the emerging technologies will bring” he warned.