For quite some time now, the threat of robots taking over the jobs of manual workers has been a common topic. For those working within industrial environments, the worry of being replaced isn’t overly irrational in some aspects, with the recent news of a Chinese factory replacing 90% of human workers with robotics; what was once a factory with 650 employees has now been reduced to 60 individuals.
Since the robotics were able to work non-stop, production rose within the factory by 250%, a number which could only be matched if the original human workers were more than doubled – which would likely be too costly for the company.
As it’s a cost effective method within industrial settings, and can often increase the accuracy and efficiency of production, it seems that more and more factories are favouring the idea. The initial setup of robotics can be costly, but the savings soon begin to add up. Robotics are becoming easier to program and cheaper to install, making even the smaller industrial companies toy with the idea.
It has been predicted that within the next 10 years, 10 million jobs will be lost in the United States alone due to robotic replacements. To put it into perspective, for every new job created to control robotics, 15 manual jobs are expected to be lost in return.
Self-service machines have already had a large impact on the retail sector, with many people opting to use a machine as opposed to human interaction.
This leaves us all with a big question. Are robotics shaping our world for the better, or making it harder for thousands of people to find jobs? Factories which primarily use robotics are able to produce more products in a shorter duration of time, but as a disadvantage, removes the prospect of hundreds of potential jobs.
The threat of robotics completely taking over factories is still something which is yet to occur. Human workers need to be onsite to ensure that the robotics function correctly, as unlike a person, are often unable to deal with unexpected occurrences. Cable connectors and every other component which helps to power robotics need to be checked for any malfunctions or safety issues, and this requires human attention.