AS – According to experts, in the next 10 years, almost 39% of the time spent on household chores and caring for family members could be automated. Researchers from the UK and Japan consulted 65 AI experts to estimate the extent of automation in common household tasks over the next decade.
Experts believe that grocery shopping will likely see the highest level of automation, while caring for the young and old is expected to be the least affected by AI.
The University of Oxford and Ochanomizu University in Japan conducted a study on the potential impact of robots on household chores, asking 65 AI experts to forecast the amount of automation that could be expected in 10 years.
The study found that approximately 39% of the time spent on unpaid domestic work and caregiving could be automated, with grocery shopping predicted to see the most automation, while caring for the young or elderly was predicted to be the least impacted.
The researchers noted that robot vacuum cleaners are currently the most widely produced and sold robots globally for domestic household tasks. Although some experts believed robots could free us from household chores in the next decade, the study also pointed out that such predictions have been made for many years with limited success.
Associate professor in AI and Society at Oxford University, Ekaterina Hertog, who is one of the authors of the study, compares the optimism around self-driving cars to the optimism around domestic robots.
She explains that just as self-driving cars are yet to navigate the unpredictable environment of our streets, robots are yet to perform well in homes.
Reader in AI and Society at King’s College, London, Dr Kate Devlin, who was not involved in the study, believes that technology is more likely to help humans rather than replace them. Instead of creating robots that can perform multiple tasks, assistive technology that helps humans is easier and more useful.
The study suggests that automation could lead to greater gender equality by freeing up time spent on unpaid domestic work, which predominantly falls on women.
However, if the technology is only affordable to a subset of society, it could lead to a rise of inequality in free time.
Additionally, the authors raise concerns about privacy issues that may arise with the use of smart automation in homes.