Gone are the days where robots were just talked about in sci-fi movies. On the contrary, this is a hot topic in the world of business – and one that politicians are often latching onto.
It would be fair to say that this is a topic that breaches numerous misconceptions though. The purpose of today’s piece is to therefore take a look at some of the real truths behind robots and automation, so you can make your mind up for yourself.
Truth #1 – They could take over 20 million jobs in the next decade
If you look in the right places, there is a lot of positivity about automation and rightly so. After all, if you think that this is something that is just replacing workers, and leaving a lot of people without jobs, you really are just scratching the surface as automation can provide a lot of opportunities.
However, for the short-term at least, these job losses are going to make the big headlines. A recent report showed that robots could take over 20 million jobs by 2030 and this is clearly not a small figure, and one that will worry a lot of people.
Truth #2 – This is something that you can defend against
At the same time, you don’t have to be a sitting duck. You’ve got a fighting chance of overcoming automation and in many cases, actually benefiting from it.
There are some skills which are going to see a surge in demand over the next few years, with the following sitting in this category:
- Avanced IT skills and programming
- Basic digital skills
Granted, some of these are quite vague skills, but this perhaps shows that automation can only go so far. It needs people to create these processes, and keep refining them, and this is where you need to adapt your skills so you can fit into such a category.
Truth #3 – The big companies are well on truly on top of this
Automation isn’t something that is “coming soon” – it’s already here. In fact, companies around the world have been using it for some time.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Amazon has started to use machines which pack orders; with the machines able to select the correct size box for each item as it arrives down a conveyor belt.
- Walmart is using autonomous floor scrubbers in thousands of it’s stores. However, instead of replacing jobs, they have said that they allow their workers to spend time on more customer-centric roles.
- Bright Machines have released a microfactory-as-service model; basically, companies are able to tap into automated manufacturing tasks on a PAYG basis.
Of course, we’ve focused on the positives with all of the above. It doesn’t always work like this, and we came across a recent story where Amazon supposedly used AI to automatically fire low-productivity workers.
Truth #4 – Human labor is becoming more valuable
While some of the truths that we have honed in on today might be showing how robots are unleashing their potential on the world, let’s not forget the value of the human touch.
It has been found that whilst manufacturing jobs are feeling the wrath of automation, the demand for labor-intensive ones is rising significantly. In other words, a lot of people don’t want the mass-produced feel with their products. It might be with a drink at the local coffee shop, or an item they have bought on Etsy. They want to deal with humans.
Again, it hits home the message that while automation will change the world, it will never replace humans.