Job Loss: Don’t Blame the Robots!

According to a recent study, nearly a quarter of workers believe their jobs could be threatened by robots. Experts usually disagree. For one thing, they point out that jobs have disappeared in the past and been replaced by new jobs that couldn’t have been predicted. For another, most current jobs include tasks that could be automated, but few jobs consist entirely of tasks like that.

John Pugliano, author of The Robots are Coming: A Human’s Survival Guide to Profiting in the Age of Automation, sees things a little differently. He doesn’t look at jobs and consider whether an industrial robot could do the work. He also thinks about whether AI could handle it and whether offshoring will still be cost-effective with potential new technologies in play.

So he’s pretty sure that travel agents, bookkeepers, financial planners, and other workers who mostly run software for a living are doomed. Lawyers, data entry clerks, and newspaper reporters are on their way out, too — those jobs will survive, but far fewer people will be needed to do the work.

But Pugliano also sees larger level reorganization affecting job prospects. It’s cheaper, for example, to prepare fast food off-premise in factories and to have fast food workers reheat it and serve it. No fast food robots required. Just reduce the work in the fast food restaurants to the absolute minimum and have very few workers.

DNA databases, surveillance cameras and computer spyware should free up a lot of time that used to spent on detecting, too. Law enforcement should be able to focus on preventing crime and building community, Pugliano figures. As with other jobs that he thinks will shift from routine to distinctly human tasks, the question is whether the people who have been doing those jobs will be able to shift their focus from what they have been doing. They might have to learn new skills, or different workers might have to step into those jobs.

In-house IT is another job that’s on its way out. Remote services using VR, outsourced work, and cloud-based services are increasingly replacing the in-house IT specialist.

None of these workers will literally be replaced by robots. Rather, technological changes are leading to changes in the demand for workers.

In the meantime, when you need service and support for your Rexroth electric industrial motion control systems, call on us for immediate assistance.

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