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The scientist who creates the most powerful artificial intelligence  switches on the machine. She asks the machine a first question: “Is there a god?”. The machine replies “There is now!”.

Stephen Hawking has warned that we will one day be replaced by artificial intelligence and there has been a whole swathe of articles recently on what artificial intelligence and robots can do for us. We are not far from driverless cars and we have recently blogged about robot judges! Some of the current attention n this subject has been driven by the current Channel 4 series “Humans” which poses the very interesting question of what life will  be like (and how it will affect our relationships with each other) when many of the tasks we currently do can be performed by robots or “synthetic  humans” (or “Synths”).

We appear to be closer to a real breakthrough in what artificial intelligence can achieve. It will be interesting to see how this will affect the world of work and whether (to take one example) the statutory definition of redundancy will need to be amended when work can be carried out by robots instead of humans.  Indeed, should robots themselves have rights (which was a question posed in a recent episode of humans)?

More interesting is what humans will decide to focus on at work, if robots take over our roles. Will we simply be  operating the machines, trying to design even better ones than our competitors, or focusing on more creative aspects of work? Will robots be able to help people with disabilities carry out tasks and assist employers create a more diverse workplace?

We may be a little away from the world that Humans is asking us to imagine, but there is no doubt that, like or not, the way we work is likely to change far more dramatically in the next fifty years than it has in the last.