The abilities of robots have grown significantly in recent years. In some areas of the world, they are beginning to replace human workers at an increasing rate. For example, the International Federation of Robots (IFR) projects the number/use of industrial robots will grow by 15 percent through 2018. And one study suggests that in general, one robot can replace up to six human workers. Recently, one international employee’s union began to negotiate for job protection against robots and artificial intelligence.

A new partner for security officers has sprung onto the scene: the security robot! Some of the robots are likely to be patrolling the industrial facilities, parking lots, warehouses and other large unoccupied facilities. Perhaps shopping malls after hours will be one of the many facilities patrolled by robots.

Aother survey found that more than 60 percent of workers fully expect that within the next 50 years much of the work currently done by humans will be done by robots and computers. The transformation of the workforce is likely to occur much earlier. In fact, analysis coming out of the Global Economic Forum at Davos found that the rise of robots and artificial intelligence will result in a job loss of more than seven million in the top 15 countries in the next five years. How many of those will be in the security field is anyone’s guess.

Earlier this year a company located in China announced that their autonomous robot security guard comes equipped with weapons and intelligent video equipment. It looks like the standard equipment for the robot security officers include multiple high-definition cameras (some with a 360-degree recorded view), a thermal camera (night vision), a laser rangefinder, a weather sensor, a license-plate recognition and recording software, facial recognition capabilities, and multiple microphones with a voice recognition software.  Once the robot security officer is rented (or purchased), it becomes programmed and simply conducts its 24/7 rounds randomly, looking and listening for anomalies with no breaks, and at the same rate for a single-shift, full time security officer. With a number like that, robot security officers are likely to begin gaining ground in the $50 billion (2016) private manned security officer market in the US, as well as throughout the rest of the world. Robot security patrols are not coming; they are here. As a security management professional, you will work with robots or even better, possibly manage a team of robots to patrol your physical domain!

You must understand the capabilities and the quirks that will likely come with this technological development, as it likely will create new challenges and changes to the application of human security and protection officers. You may soon be working with or managing robots!