Watching any number of movies about robotic technology during the past 30 years would make anyone assume that these artificial creations will end up taking over our jobs. All you need to do is watch Wall-E, the CGI film about a robot and see what that could do to us all. In that movie, people had become so lazy they couldn’t do anything for themselves because robots did it all.
iRobot starring Will Smith focused on AI (Artificial Intelligence) eventually trying to take over humanity, not as a means of controlling them, but protecting us from our own follies. Of course, Hollywood is great at generating buzz about fantasies and science fiction and making people believe it could be realistic.
So how realistic is the prospect?
When you’re talking about the prospect of robots taking over our jobs, there is some concern, and warranted. After all, there have already been a number of jobs that have fallen to the automation of robotic technology. Manufacturing is one of the biggest that comes to mind. Millions of jobs have been eliminated because of automated robotics that create products -from cars to toys and everything in between- and can do it far faster and more accurately than humans.
However, with those innovations there have been a number of other jobs created. Somebody has to oversee and repair those robotic arms. People need to check for quality control. How many times have you purchased a product, got home, opened it, and realized that something was missing, broken, or not right?
As American continues to move further and further away from an industrial nation, producing fewer and fewer actual products, there has been an increase in other types of employment generated, from technology, gaming, finance, and much more. Even that is not immune to the invasion of robotic technology.
Which brings us to the point of this first article. How realistic will it be to assume that more than half of the American workforce will consist of robots in the future?
Not all that likely. Consider this: if half of the workforce is replaced by robots, then half of the workforce will be unable to generate any income. Without income, they can’t send money and if people don’t spend money then the economy comes to a crashing halt.
Forget about companies focusing on other nations and populations around the world to generate revenue; American companies (and many others throughout the world) focus on American consumers, and for good reason. We spend trillions of dollars every year for goods and services. Without that, the entire machine will begin to collapse in on itself.
Will robots be more prevalent? Absolutely. The goal for companies is to become more efficient, but don’t worry, for every job taken over or replace with robotics, there are going to be more generated to keep them working properly. It will require new skills and knowledge, but the opportunities will exist and the American workforce will continue moving forward and there will continue to be those who need to fill empty positions.
Written by G. T. Hedlund