Robots in workplace ‘could create double the jobs they destroy’
Estimated reading time: 8 minute(s)
I’ve been saying this myself for years. One job is replaced by a robot, that requires a whole team to maintain. This means not only that the amount of jobs isn’t going to drastically decrease, but that the jobs that remain are more high end and better paid. Businesses save money replacing workers with robots, while brand new businesses are created that profit from those very robots.
It’s easy to default to thinking that robots replacing workers means less jobs. But look at something like Mc Donalds. They more or less entirely replaced cashiers with ‘robots’. Now they didn’t start hiring less people, instead they upped the efficiency and quality in the kitchen. They make better food (cooked to order) more efficiently, they save money, the work that remains is better paid. Since they started to cook to order they still need roughly the same amount of workers.
It seems that often replacing workers with machines is a win win situation.
Now scientific studies are beginning to suggest that this is indeed the case.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), about 133m jobs globally could be created with the help of rapid technological advances in the workplace over the next decade, compared with 75m that could be replaced.
Klaus Schwab, chairman of the WEF, said employment gains from technology were not a “foregone conclusion” and would require greater investment in training and education to help workers adapt. The report found there are urgent challenges for reskilling workers and that safety nets are required to protect at-risk workers.
“[This] is a call to action to governments, businesses, educators and individuals alike to take advantage of a rapidly closing window to create a new future of good work for all,”
It’s going to happen either way, so lets do it right. 8 / 10 surveyed CEO’s reported that they are likley to automate work within five years. They said that roughly half of the positions available could be automated.
When you think automation you may easily think of factory workers, but this survey suggests that work like accounting, payroll and data entry were the ones most likely to be replaced.
When many different areas of work are automated they require equally many unique automation systems. All which need to be designed, programmed, manufactured, installed, and maintained.
Besides, would it really be that bad if all the ‘boring’ jobs were replaced so that humankind could focus on what’s important to them?