The advancements in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has greatly impacted on society. ICT has helped in transforming human society in many ways. One of the major ways through which ICT has changed human experience is that it has massively contributed to the emergence and usage of automation. Automation is a technology which involves the use of computer techniques to perform the activities that would otherwise be done by human beings. As a new and progressive technology, automation has affected, effects, and will continue to affect society in many ways. Its usage in Melbourne is expected to continue changing the city socially, economically, and environmentally.
The first way through which automation affects Melbourne is that the technology has been applied in the transport sector. Since its invention, the automation technology is progressively applied in the management of the city's transport system. Initially, the entire transport sector was being managed manually. Meaning, all the activities were conducted by the laborers. However, when the technology arose, most of the activities have been automated (Sujatha, Kumar, Bhavani, Srividhya, Reddy & Ramkumar, 2018). The effects so far seen in the sector demonstrate that automation will continue to have great impacts on the city's transport system. The prediction is that if the trend continues, the entire transit system will be automated. The automation of the transit system will change the city in different ways. Notably, it will enhance the efficiency in the movement of people from one place to the other. It will be easier for people to travel using cars and trains because the issue of distance will not bother them anymore (Prelipcean, Gidofalvi & Susilo, 2018). Thus, it will become advantageous to the employees or business people who commute within and out of Melbourne City.
The other way through which automation will impact Melbourne is that it will play a significant role in shaping the future of the city's labor market. Research has revealed that automation has already claimed approximately 30% of the jobs that used to be done by human beings. It is predicted that technology will claim more jobs because it is the way to go. By 2068, automation will lead to the loss of 70% of jobs. The intensification of research on automation techniques like Artificial Intelligence and mobile robotics implies that the technology will soon render many people jobless (Jacobsson Boldt & Carlsson, 2016). If that research continues, the technology will render a large chunk of the city's 5 million people unemployed. That will have to happen since technology has become diverse and applied in many industries. Meaning, those who have been doing jobs which entail keypunch, tabulating, computing, maintaining records, filing, checking, posting as well as other machine related operations will no longer be employed because their roles will have been taken over by the robots. The replacement of the laborers will also affect people socially and economically. The unemployed Melbourne will have enough free time to engage in leisure. The loss of jobs will force people to look for other opportunities where their services may be required.
A full adoption of the automation technology will have adverse effects on the city's environment. Although the proponents of automation argue that it is a sustainable technology, there are researchers who have established that the technology might not be as sustainable as claimed. To them, the computerization of the production process will come with a heavy cost. Its extensive use of electricity will make it have adverse effects on the city's ecological system (Nam, Lee, Kyung, An & An, 2017). Electricity is non-renewable energy whose usage has been linked to pollution and the release of green gases into the environment. In this regard, it is justifiable to assert that the automation of the production process will be a hindrance to the city's efforts towards the realization of a green economy. Artificial Intelligence and robotic technology is an automated system that consumes a lot of energy (Xiao & Fan, 2014). Meaning, its continued use will make it unsustainable as far as the environmental conservation is concerned. Hence, with an increase in population at the time, continued automation will adversely impact on the Melbourne's environment.
If the automation technology continues to be used up to 2068, it will have a serious effect on the social-economic prosperity of the Melbourners. The technology will impact on the city's economy because it will determine the distribution of wealth amongst the people. The prediction is that the laying-off of people and replacing them with computers will lead to a skewed distribution of wealth in the city. The wealth will be accumulated in the hands of a few people (owners of capital) while a large section of the city-dwellers will be impoverished. This shows that the gap between the rich and poor classes might continue to widen in the city should the trend continue as observed (Fiaidhi, 2018). The trimming of job opportunities might be disastrous because it can be responsible for the stagnation of the progress of the poor Melbourners who might not be able to afford basic needs, quality healthcare services, and education for their children. At the same time, there might be an increase in the cases of criminality since the poor Melbourners might resort into theft, robbery, and burglary as the only means of livelihood.
In conclusion, the advent of ICT has changed society both for good and for worse. The use of computers has been commended because it has helped in improving the efficiency and speed of work. At the same time, it has made life simple and comfortable because people no longer have to use manual labor to perform duties. The use of automation technology, however, will affect the Melbourners in many ways. If the trend in the technology continues, then by 2068, there will be increased cases of joblessness and high electricity consumption. Thus, what needs to be done is to rethink how the technology can be improved to ensure that it does not harm society and disadvantage the people in any way.
Fiaidhi, J. (2018). Extreme Automation: A New Game-Changing Technology. IT Professional, 20(2), 88-90.
Jacobsson, A., Boldt, M., & Carlsson, B. (2016). A risk analysis of a smart home automation system. Future Generation Computer Systems, 56, 719-733.
Nam, K. H., Lee, S., Kyung, G., An, J., & An, S. (2017). Development of ergonomic gun barrel cleaning method: Automation and its advantages. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries, 27(5), 243-248.
Sujatha, K., Kumar, K. S., Bhavani, N. P., Srividhya, V., Reddy, T. K., & Ramkumar, K. S. (2018). Automation of Railway Engine Pilot Security System Using Multimodal Biometric Identification. In Information and Communication Technology (pp. 1-12). Springer, Singapore.
Prelipcean, A. C., Gidofalvi, G., & Susilo, Y. O. (2018). MEILI: A travel diary collection, annotation, and automation system. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 70, 24-34.
Xiao, F., & Fan, C. (2014). Data mining in building automation system for improving building operational performance. Energy and buildings, 75, 109-118.
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