There’s no arguing the fact that robots have become an integral part of 21st-century living.
From driverless cars to automated production lines and even retail outlets entirely staffed by them, robots are everywhere. With their increased usage, however, comes the now very vocal scares of robots usurping the human workforce. They are efficient, effective, and require fewer resources to manage. Pretty much everything an employer of labour desires.
Invariably, as the world shifts to a better system of doing things, it follows that man, the inefficient source of labour (compared to robots) will be relegated to the back-burner, leaving us with a future plagued by robots shuffling about and getting things done in their robotic suits.
This is the narrative a significant bunch of people key into, and while it does hold some water, it’s for the most part skewed. Robots are here to revolutionise the labour market and contrary to the popular opinion; this revolution will lead to the creation of more jobs.
The threats of doom and gloom have never materialised
The fear that robots will take our jobs didn’t originate today. Right from the onset of the first industrial revolution and following the deployment of the first machines, it was always a popular concept that technology would usher in the doom of man.
In 70s for instance, historians like Ian Turner predicted that at least 10% of the Australian workforce would become redundant consequent of technological change. As it turns out, that didn’t happen.
Same way the doom predictions never became a reality in the 1930s United Kingdom or the 1960s United States. Sure, many people lost their former jobs of tending the rice fields and manually knitting dresses, but with the loss of those jobs came the creation of more and even better-paying jobs which leads to the next point.
The adoption of robots always precede the creation of new jobs
For the field workers during the first industrial revolution, it was new jobs in factories and offices. For the workforce of today, the possibilities are endless. Automation, artificial intelligence and everything else that is part of the fourth industrial revolution is essentially in its formative years, meaning countless job and career opportunities are primed to unfold as they mature.
It’s similar to what happened in the late 1990s following the promulgation of personal computers. Jobs were lost, no doubt, but over 18.5 million other jobs were thereafter created. And they were for the most part ‘better jobs.’ Add this to the fact that contrary to popular opinion, robots will only disrupt just a small fraction, only 5% of jobs according to McKinsey and Company, and it’s easy to see why robots and automation are more of a good thing and less of the bad deal that people make it be.
The only requirement for the human workforce is that it’ll have to learn new skills and master new techniques to remain competitive.
Leveraging the ‘good deal’
Robots are good news, and not just for corporations like Amazon who are onboarding robotic technology capable of setting up massive operating cost cuts, but also for the everyday Aussie. Why? Because aside from bringing in newer and often times better jobs, robots are the precursors of cheaper, efficient and more scalable services.
They are part of the reason items on Amazon are dirt-cheap and for the budding entrepreneur or businessperson they can serve as a Launchpad for that revolutionary but otherwise unscalable product.