Should we fear that industrial robots will take our jobs? Not at all! Robots are here to help us work more efficiently, productively, and safely.
Robots are rapidly changing the way we work in all industries. And, nowhere this is more evident than in factories around the world. Now, industrial robots have started to replace humans in manufacturing plants for a long time. The earliest industrial robots took over American automotive factories in the ’60s.
And, at that time, they were very simple machines programmed to do single repetitive pick-and-place tasks. Over time, as AI and IoT joined the scene, and technology was evolving at the speed of light, industrial robots also became more capable of performing even more complicated tasks.
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Today, industrial robots have much more capabilities for applications such as welding, painting, assembly or disassembly, packaging and labeling, palletizing, conduct product inspection and testing. But that’s not all. These robots can do all these things with high endurance, speed, and precision.
A recent report from Oxford Economics suggests that industrial robots will displace 20 million manufacturing jobs, representing nearly 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce by 2030. Moreover, the report suggests that with every newly installed robot, 1.6 manufacturing workers are displaced.
The report also found out that the more repetitive the job is, the higher risk for it to be replaced by robots. In fact, this is also why industries such as manufacturing and finances are considered to be the most vulnerable in front of the robot revolution.
Now, it’s no surprise why industrial robots are rapidly taking over all industries. As the Industrial Robotics market continues to grow, they are becoming cheaper than paying people. Plus, they can also complete repetitive tasks faster and more accurately.
But is this really bad news? Let’s dig deeper into the advantages that robots actually bring on the table and find out how they will reshape our jobs.
The bigger robotic picture
We hear much about job losses due to industrial robots, and robots of all types as well. It all started with Sci-fi Hollywood movies that pictured technological and robotic advancements as a threat to humanity and human workers. Often, robots are even portrayed as deadly weapons.
Moreover, it isn’t just the Oxford Economics report that suggests it. For example, the World Economic Forum predicted that nearly half of companies would reduce their full-time workforce by 2022. Moreover, data from PWC suggests that almost 7 million jobs in the UK will be displaced due to robots by 2037.
Yet, what we hear less of is how these robots can help human workers. From performing dangerous and repetitive tasks to allowing human employees to focus on highly important responsibilities, just to name a few, this is how industrial robots can help.
Business-wise, industrial robots can also increase efficiency by completing specific repetitive tasks faster and better than people. They also have higher accuracy levels, meaning that they can be used to produce higher quality products. Last but not least, they can also be a great marketing tool as they can wow customers when they see that a specific company uses cutting edge technology.
Robots will create millions of more jobs
Now, apart from bringing many advantages to the work environment of all industries, it seems that robots may also actually contribute to creating new jobs.
A report from the World Economic Forum suggests that robots will displace 75 million jobs globally, from all industries but will create in exchange 133 million new ones by 2022. Among these jobs that are likely to increase two years from now are data analysis, social media, and software development. Moreover, it is expected to see an increase in jobs in sales and marketing, as both these fields require “human skills,” which robots still don’t, and most likely will never have.
There are always alarming data about the prospect of radical change in the labor market. After all, this has happened before, but it turned out to be ok. Let’s take sales and marketing, for example. As the technology evolved and the Internet became so popular, marketing jobs did not just disappear. Marketing professionals at the time the Internet was just rising did not lose their jobs. They only had to adapt to online marketing options.
Maybe with robots along with human workers, our current jobs won’t look the same as they do right now. But they will most likely still be available to all professionals who can adapt to this AI-filled future.
Not everybody will need to be an engineer
Now, it may be easy to think that in a future where robots, artificial intelligence, and technology as a whole will reshape our world, everybody must be an engineer to keep their jobs.
However, that’s far from being true. Considering all past examples we have on how technology was slowly making its way into our workplaces, we can say that the human labor force is always adaptable to change.
Those who will have to share their jobs with a robot won’t have to get an engineering diploma. They will, however, have to learn how to work side by side with AI and robots. But this is far from being a disadvantage. Working with technology and robots in a digitalized era will only help them prepare for an even more digitalized future by learning tech-related skills.
There is evident data that robots will displace many jobs in some industries, such as manufacturing or finances. However, there are also data showing that robots are not going to take our jobs, they are going to create new ones for us. By looking at the robot’s weaknesses and humans’ strengths, we can say that it is impossible to have a jobless future. For example, robots still don’t have the capability to perform many complex tasks. They still lack vital skills like negotiation, creativity, emotional intelligence, and social skills.