Security Guards and Automation – How Safe Is Your Job as A Security Guard?

For the last century we have seen technology being able to replace jobs that human beings were performing. As technology advances this is starting to happen at a much quicker rate. Manufacturing and robotics have largely fully replaced what used to be known as ‘factory work”. These types of jobs for humans just don’t exist anymore, or at the very least they make up less than 1% of what they used to. Many jobs now being performed by humans are being identified as jobs that could be replace by robots, automation and artificial intelligence. Taxi drivers, retail salespersons, real estate sales agents are all occupations that are expected to have greatly reduced demand in the next decade. In this article we examine the threat of technology replacing the jobs performed by security guards and how much of a future is there for someone training to work in this industry.

Robot Security Guards

Robot security guards are available now in some forms but are limited by the jobs they can perform and still don’t have a high level of autonomy. Current products on the market can perform patrolling duties feeding imagery back to a control centre, they can recognise unauthorised personnel, they can scan environments and store data and utilise algorithms to detect if an environment has changed. They can even interact with humans with polite requests for authentication or directions for people needing help. They can work for 16 hours a day and not complain about their working conditions and are inexpensive, but they can’t frisk someone. They also cannot pursue and detain a suspect or help a lost child find their parents. The days where we see robot bouncers in pubs and clubs ejecting patrons for bad behaviour are probably a long way in the future, unlikely to happen in the next few decades at least, so while there are certain mundane and repetitive tasks that can be replaced by robots, the primary responsibilities for the security guard should be safe from automation.

The Concept of Integrated Guarding

One of the next steps towards utilising technology for security purposes is the concept of integrated guarding where machines and humans work together doing what they respectively do well. Security cameras and have not replaced the needs for security guards but have made their job easier and more efficient. This trend is expected to continue where security guards will not be replaced by technology but their roles and responsibilities will be enhanced and reinforced by the addition of newer technologies that can safely take over take over the more banal activities that security guards do not enjoy anyway. This concept is applicable to all jobs. Lawyers are investing large amounts of money in developing bots that can do research previously performed by assistants and paralegals. Augmentation through technology is happening in every industry.

Artificial Intelligence Will Be the Last Frontier in Job Automation

Occupations that require (among other things) complex judgement, real-time decision making and intelligent consideration will be the last to fall to being replaced by technology. The job of a security guard requires too much human intervention to be in a position where it is threatened in the same way the job of being on a manufacturing assembly line was. It isn’t even at the same threat level as drivers in the transport industry. The industry will certainly change with the emergence of new technologies. In fact, it is likely that integrating new technology into the security industry might create new jobs that as of today do not exist. While some jobs may potentially be lost, there will be new ones created, but security related work that requires the officer to exercise good judgement and respond using intelligent thought processes is unlikely to be lost to automation anytime soon.


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