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Scientist of VU 60 percent of all occupations have at least one third of operations that can be automated

2021 09 14 V Marcinkevicius273x250Self-driving trucks, robotic surgical systems for complex remote surgeries - these are just a few examples of robotics that still amaze us today, but without them, the future of both people and industry is unimaginable. According to Virginijus Marcinkevičius, head of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of Vilnius University (VU), almost all of us will be affected by automation processes, as the labour market includes more than half of all professions, one third of operations of which can be automated.

In the VU podcast "Science without Sermons", he talks about the rate of robotization, the competition between robots and humans, which professions are likely to be replaced by autonomous systems, and whether there will be a time when we will be able to stop working.

Singapore is a leader in robotics

The level of robotization in the world is usually measured by the number of robots. "We are seeing a 6-7% increase in the number of robots every year. While in 2013 there were 1.3 million robots in use, by 2018 there were already 2.4 million robots in the world," says the VU scientist.

Another parameter we can measure the speed of robotization is the number of robots per 10,000 jobs. According to the scientist, three years ago Slovakia was the leader in this field with 114 robots per 10,000 jobs, followed by the Czech Republic in the second place. “Meanwhile, in 2020, according to the Lithuanian Robotics Association, we had only 5 robots per 10,000 jobs, while the world leader Singapore has 2018 robots per 10,000 jobs. In Europe, the Germans are currently leading with 277 robots for the same number of jobs."

Although our country is lagging far behind in this area, we can see a significant increase in the number of robotic processes each year, with at least 0.7% more robots per year in Lithuanian companies. 4.6% of Lithuanian companies use robots in one way or another in the process of their operations. We expected that this percentage could rise up to 15% in the future.

Where are robots more efficient than humans?

According to the speaker, robots are now mostly used in packaging, agriculture, animal breeding, food industry, healthcare, automotive industry and electronics. "In a fixed industrial environment, robots can excel at monotonous tasks such as putting an item into a package, sealing it, sorting packages to pallets, labelling products, checking that the correct and undamaged item has been put in, etc."

Robotization is also relevant in agriculture. As the number of population grows and the area of land remains the same, more money is being invested in more efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.

“More efficiently and more products from the same area of land and materials can also be obtained through what is known as precision agriculture, which uses precise mapping and mapping of soil parameters to determine the most efficient way to plant the seedlings of a particular plant, and the most efficient way to fertilize and irrigate them for optimum yields. Drone tracking of crop growth then allows farmers to predict yields and set prices, while automatic harvesting, where tractors autonomously harvest crops based on GPS signals, saves human labour."

Robots are also used in animal breeding to automate the milking of cows, or to monitor surplus stock or health status.

He says that the most surprising thing in the medical field is still remote surgeries, which allow physicians working in one country to perform complex operations on patients living in any other country in the world with the help of precision robots. This is offered by the Da Vinci robotic surgery system, also used in Lithuania.

It's hard for a human to compete with a robot

Once asked how the labour market will change in the future and which professions are most at risk of disappearing, the VU scientist says that robots will first replace humans in monotonous operations, but everyone should think about the impact of robots on the labour market. It is estimated that around 60% of all occupations have at least 30% of operations that can be automated. It can be difficult for a human to compete with a robot in certain areas because they never get sick, they don't need holidays, they usually work for 5 years without breakdowns, they are faster, more precise, they can carry out complex tasks, they can lift heavy weights, and they can work in harmful conditions, in a polluted, hazardous environment.”

However, in certain areas, humans outperform robots in the ability to work in unfixed and undetermined environments. “Although robots use artificial intelligence to perform complex tasks similarly or even more efficiently than a human would, they will never be able to offer suggestions on how to improve performance because they only perform pre-programmed functions," an artificial intelligence expert identifies human strengths.

Automated trucks will replace some of their drivers

The need for occupations such as shop assistants, fast-food restaurant workers, data analysts, security guards and even truck and taxi drivers will be in decline, the scientist says. The transport sector is being rapidly robotized because the market is large: a lot of goods have to be shipped quickly, so companies like Volvo, Tesla are developing autonomous trucks, which they do not yet risk to put on the highway with their loads, but solutions like "autonomous truck trains" are being considered, where the driver of the first truck is followed by a series of autonomous trucks behind it, repeating its actions so that it can get from point A to B," he says.

The automation of product delivery processes is also developing rapidly. V. Marcinkevičius recalled how Amazon advertised drones that take orders from helium ballooned goods and deliver them to the customer's yard. Ideas for small 4-wheelers used for meal delivery are also being developed.

The military industry is also looking for possibilities to replace frontline soldiers with robotic troops for the most risky missions. However, so far the majority of jobs (38%) is robotic in the automotive industry.

Quality is the advantage of human labour

Fortunately, the rate of robotization is not very fast. “For over 200 years, we have been using robotic systems as tools, as a means to work, to create products and services more efficiently, therefore they won't drive people out of the labour market so quickly. For instance, in Germany robots account for only 2.7% of jobs, and with a growth rate of around 7% a year, in 20 years' time around 10% of jobs will be robotic. However, whether we like it or not, we will still be competing with robots, and certain skills can help us to create a greater advantage, guarantee success or a higher reward," says Head of the VU Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

From a business perspective, he said, a business is competitive when it is able to produce its product or service cheaper, faster or in a better quality. It would be difficult for us to compete with robots in terms of speed, but human labour will always be cheaper because robots are expensive and require a lot of investment. Robots are also often no competitors for humans in terms of quality, as robots cannot improve themselves and are programmed to perform only a specific operation. However, applying knowledge to non-standard situations, improving the operation process and knowledge, creating high added value by proposing new solutions - that would be a human prerogative.

The scientist is convinced that one of the keys to billionaire Alan Musk's success is creativity, and looking from an educational perspective, the greatest return is achieved from the development of knowledge and the creation of new ideas.

However, V. Marcinkevičius reaffirms that, overall, the number of robots in the workplace is still very small and the impact is not very visible. This is confirmed by a study carried out in the United States, which showed that the increase in the number of robots in the world has a small impact on human wages (0.4%) and increases unemployment by around 0.2%.

He believes that even if robotics has a greater impact on the labour market, people will never become jobless, because job is one of the means allowing people to survive and, at the same time, realize their creativity, needs and ideas, and that a life without job will never be as interesting, or even as possible. Robots vacuum our houses instead of us, help us build them (we are trying to print a 3D house), do physically demanding or monotonous human tasks, and perhaps in the future they will contribute more to cooking, but we will have to generate new ideas, educate our children, and create new technologies ourselves.

2021-09-14

Applications for ERASMUS+ programme for the spring semester are open

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Would you like improve and / or learn a new foreign language, get to know a new culture, gain invaluable academic and life self?

We invite you to apply and participate in exchange program!

Application form for the ERASMUS+ exchanges can be accessed here. Online registration will be open from 1st of September till 21st of September, 24 o'clock

ATTENTION! You can apply for different mobility options at the same time.

Info Sessions will be held:

More information about ERASMUS+:

On the website of the International Relations Department of Vilnius University

On the VU MIF page

2021-09-03

Welcome meeting for Master students at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics

2021 08 27 M Metu pradzios svente

Welcome meeting on 1st of September 11.15 a.m. at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (24, Naugarduko str., Vilnius) in the room 101. Here is the best way to find the location.

During the meeting the Faculty and its facilities will be presented and all the processes for students. So it will be easier to navigate throughout your studies in Vilnius University.

Registration form online.

WELCOME DAY PROGRAME

Following the requirements established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, all participants of the event must have an Opportunity Passport and  will also be required to wear protective masks.

2021-08-27

Thermo Fisher Scientific Nominal Scholarship Competition 2021-2022

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“Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics” UAB in cooperation with Vilnius University invites prospective 1-year masters students from VU Life Sciences Center, Faculty of Chemistry and Geosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics to prepare Master final thesis at the Company.

Favorite students selected to prepare Master final thesis at the Company will receive Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics nominal scholarship of 1.800 Eur per single academic year. VU students who prepare the final thesis at the Company for two academic years and if study results do not worsen, are entitled for a second-year scholarship, therefore total scholarship would amount to 3.600 Eur.

Applicants’ Bachelor final thesis (or exams) and Main study field subjects weighted average grades must be no less than 8 to qualify for the Scholarship competition.

This nominal scholarship does not impact students’ chances to receive other scholarships from the State, Vilnius University, “Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics” or other

First year Master students must submit applications for the competition by September 27, 2021

Students must submit following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV);
  • Motivational letter, also indicating preferred research areas;
  • Copy of Bachelor studies diploma and its supplement;
  • Copy of Secondary school graduation diploma;
  • Copy of other achievements, such as scientific and/or social activities (e.g. participations in scientific competitions, tournaments and other);
  • Recommendation from VU Faculty or Employer would be additional benefit.    

Application documents should be submitted to VU Study administration department via e-mail: and “Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics” UAB via e-mail: titled “Thermo Fisher Scientific nominal scholarship”.

Questions regarding this competition should be addressed to “Thermo Fisher Scientific” representative – Saulius Burbulis , tel. +370 640 68532 or VU representative – Jurgita Alonderyte-Venckiene e-mail: .

“THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC BALTICS” NOMINAL SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS 2021-2022

2021-08-31

The VU freshmen integration program

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The VU freshmen integration program, which will take place throughout September, is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the entire VU community in a short time.

Students will have the opportunity to take part in excursions organized by VU Museum and VU Library throughout the month, visit an Integration Space located at VU Central Library, and Scientific Communication and Information Center. Students will also be able to find out more about separate departments, such as VU Library, Culture Center, Sports, and Health Center, VU Student Representation, VU Student services, and career department, and to discover interesting people, inspiring places, and much more.

Student integration #StudentAUK will begin on August 31st. 10 a.m. in the Grand Courtyard of VU.

Here the freshmen will be greeted by a full-day integration event:
10.00 - 12.00 Integration of foreign students
13.00 - 16.00 Discussion festival "Ad Astra"
16.00 - 18.00 Contact fair of VU student clubs and activities
19.00 - 20.00 Baltic Balcan concert and performance of VU Culture Center groups

Following the requirements established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, all participants of the event must have an Opportunity Passport; registration: https://cutt.ly/JQ0oTq9

#StudentAUK program and key links:

"Student Life Guidebook": https://vusa.lt/en/studentisko-gyvenimo-vadovas
Program: www.orientationweek.vu.lt
VUSA discussion festival Ad astra: https://fb.me/e/IuFrr5Ge
Registration to #FindVU tours: https://www.studentauk.vu.lt/open-vu.html
Freshman Video Guide: VU video guide - orientationweek

2021-08-20

 

Information for freshmen: first steps

Congratulations for joining the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (MIF) of Vilnius University (VU). An interesting period is in front of you - the beginning of studies. Prospective students often ask where to look for exact information about their studies, how everything will start in the first few weeks. Here are the key steps to successfully prepare for the new academic year.

2021-08-20

Significant Growth of State-Funded Student Places at Vilnius University

2021 3 04 VU Didysis kiemas380x250At the end of the main stage of general admission to higher education institutions, Vilnius University (VU) received 28,673 applications from students, of which 5,978 were submitted as the first priority. After the first stage, 4,247 persons were invited to study, 3,585 of them were invited to state-funded student places. VU Vice-Rector for Studies Associate Professor Valdas Jaskūnas points out that the number of entrants to VU has been growing for the fifth year in a row, but the growth of state-funded student places is even more gratifying.

"Of all Lithuanian higher education institutions, VU attracts the most state-funded places – this year we received 43 percent of the total state funding allocated to universities, while last year we received 37 percent. We are leading in the study groups of mathematics, physics, life and humanities", says Associate Professor Jaskūnas.

According to the VU Vice-Rector for Studies, the results of this year's main admission stage show unchanging tendencies of the most popular study programs – the fields which are most in demand remain as medicine, psychology, law, international business, and creative communication. "It is gratifying that the call to choose pedagogical studies has been heard – VU trains teachers in various forms, and all students can acquire the qualification of a teacher by choosing parallel studies," he says.

However, Associate Professor Jaskūnas draws attention to the declining interest in Scandinavian language and IT study programs, which may lead to a shortage of specialists needed for business development in the future.

According to the Vice-Rector for Studies, the start of VU Šiauliai Academy after the reorganisation of Šiauliai University has been successful. One of the main teacher education centres in Lithuania has seen a high percentage of growth in teacher training and curriculum systems.

"VU Šiauliai Academy Teacher Training Centre has received a lot of trust. The special pedagogy program undoubtedly has the greatest potential in Lithuania. VU has also refined studies that meet the needs of the region. At the moment, we see that there is a great shortage of IT specialists for the development of the region, therefore we are happy to see the growth of students entering the information systems studies. While developing studies in Šiauliai, IT and pedagogical study programs are considered a priority, therefore targeted investments in the quality of studies and the environment are planned,” says Associate Professor Jaskūnas.

At the end of the main admission stage, VU intends to provide most of the proposed programs in the second stage as well. At this stage, it will also be possible to apply to study in state-funded student places. The additional admission stage will run from 13 August to 16 August.

2021-08-10

Nord Security and Vilnius University Partner Up to Develop Innovative Solutions

Nord Security ir VU partneriai

Vilnius University (VU) and the cyber security solutions developer Nord Security have signed a cooperation agreement. The parties have agreed to strengthen the partnership between tertiary education and business and to develop joint initiatives in the process of designing and improving cybersecurity products and services. In the long run, new partners also aim to enhance and further develop the competencies of software engineering, data analysis, statistics, and mathematics students.

“In order to continue as an attractive establishment of studies and learning for students, we have to make sure that our graduates have the skills to mirror dynamic needs of the labour market. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the IT sector: its progress and integration in other business and industrial segments is very intensive yet always changing and shaping new challenges both: for IT professionals employed by companies like Nord Security and researchers involved in this field. I am therefore very excited that, uniquely diverse in the range of this activity, this partnership with Nord Security will offer excellent value in the quest for new scientific solutions in association with cyber security and big-data researchers and will become significant part of studies driven by applied knowledge,” says VU Rector prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas.

The Head of Nord Security's Business Enablement Department, Ramūnas Markauskas, was happy with the budding partnership and new possibilities opening for business and VU academic society.

"Currently, one of our priorities is for Nord Security to strengthen our partnerships with universities and the academic society. Therefore, we're very excited to have signed this agreement with Vilnius University, the alma mater of many of our executives and employees. This agreement will allow the company and the university's community finding common ground to develop high-level scientific products, innovative solutions. It'll also establish opportunities to nurture and encourage young professionals to make discoveries and further explore cybersecurity and other IT fields. It is no doubt that this partnership will expand our view regarding product development. In turn, we can offer valuable practical knowledge for the academic society about cutting-edge solutions and tech," says R. Markauskas.

Nord Security is one of the world's leading cybersecurity solutions providers, with more than 15 million users worldwide. At present the company's product family includes five advanced cybersecurity solutions that have earned high praise from major tech outlets and cybersec experts: NordVPN, NordVPN Teams, NordPass, NordLocker, and NordWL.

Currently, Nord Security has around 1,000 professionals working in different areas of the company. They're actively engaged in promoting further development of their employees by hosting in-house academies, building partnerships, and providing various trainings for skill development.

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