Watch: Robot bricklayers are here. Could they replace manual construction workers in India too?

Robotic process automation could lead to a loss of half of the world’s jobs by 2050.


A series of bricklaying robots designed by global companies could be harbingers of global unemployment. The prototype, made by a Perth-based robotics company, is on track for release by the end of 2017 and is already being touted as a possible future of construction.

Another product, called SAM or semi-automatic mason, developed by a New York-based company, has the ability to lay close to 3,000 bricks per day. That’s several times faster than humans who average 500 bricks per day.

In 2015, an Australian engineer designed Hadrian, a robot that is said to be able to build a house in two days.

Researchers in Switzerland, who worked on a similar project, suggest that these robotic bricklayers could be the industry norm over the next decade. Although for now, most of these products require human intervention to help set up the site, research is being conducted to develop independent models.

Robot bricklayers are already been used in building projects in the United States and will also begin to be used in the United Kingdom. And while such change will be slow to trickle into India, it could have huge implications for construction workers if it does. The construction business in India employs close to 33 million workers and is projected to be the world’s third biggest by 2025.

Robotic process automation could lead to the next wave of global unemployment, a scientist warned in 2016. More than half of the world’s jobs could be lost over the next 30 years as robots as capable as humans of doing a range of tasks are developed.

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When did we start parenting our parents?

As our parents grow older, our ‘adulting’ skills are tested like never before.

From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

It’s something that can be easily rectified, though. Start at the simplest - the old-fashioned peck on the cheek. When was the last time you gave your mom or dad a peck on the cheek like a spontaneous five-year-old - for no reason at all? Young parents can take their own children’s behaviour available as inspiration.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.