COVID Pushed Automation Forward

in LeoFinance4 months ago

Where do we stand with the robots?

Many feel that COVID-19 accelerated the push into automation. It was a trend that was happening. However, the virus only accelerated the process, pulling things forward, by some estimations, up to 5 years.

Whatever the timeline, we do see how this is happening. More robots are being ordered by companies. Many sectors are finding this of benefit. However, according to research, the manufacturing and food industries were the ones that had the biggest thrust since COVID broke out.


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We also know that online retail did exception during the pandemic. Last April, online sales reached 25% of all retail transactions. This was the highest in history. As things eased up, this level pulled back some. Nevertheless, the online retail sector is now larger than it was 13 months ago.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this is, of course, Amazon. The company is fresh off a fight with the union over a warehouse in Alabama. It is proceeding forward with a new warehouse in Lousiana.

To nobodies surprise, this is being called a "robotic fulfillment center". It is going to be the largest of any center Amazon operations. It will create 1,000 jobs yet will be highly automated. For a center this size, we are seeing the number of humans on the lower end of things.

As with all of these, that means a combination of humans and robots. There are, of course, questions with regard to what the balance will be, going forward. And, of course, it’s no surprise that pro-union Amazon workers frequently cited being treated like a robot among their biggest workplace concerns.

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Bershire Grey is one of the larger players in the warehouse automation field. It has been on a roll, raising some serious amounts of capital. This has led to a rosy outlook along with expansion into other markets.

“2020 was a pivotal time for eCommerce companies, retailers, grocers and package handling logistics providers – and it continues into this year. The need to automate to meet consumer needs was already pronounced and the pandemic accelerated the changes and increased the need,” founder and CEO Tom Wagner said in a release. “Many of these changes in consumer behaviors are here to stay and that means, businesses need to adapt and improve operations with robotic automation to fulfill those needs. We’re honored to work with companies who have enlisted our AI-enabled robotic solutions to help meet business goals and consumer expectations.”

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The world of retail is becoming more automated. We see rolling scanners in Walmart stores that alert store employees when shelves are low on product or things are mispriced. There is also the push towards automated check outs. Amazon has its Go stores which employ its camera and AI technology to eliminate the need for check out completely.

All of this is happening at an extremely fast pace. The last year saw a massive push forward without any signs of slowing up.

As these industries are penetrated, what will be the impact upon jobs. Some research claims that 3.5 jobs are lost for each robots installed. This is not something that is universally agreed upon.

Hence we are in a situation where there is still debate abut the impact. Amazing is the leading companies in terms of jobs created the last few years. It does appear, however, that the company is automating more of their operations. We all know the last might is something that many companies are working on. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, it describes the delivery system from a local store or depot to one's residence.

Many companies are looking to automate this end of things either with drones, robotic delivery pods, or autonomous vehicles.

While many want to focus upon the robots, software could be posing a bigger problem. RPA is becoming a bigger part of the office environment. Many people are finding that software can be trained simply be loading it on one's workstation. The bot simply monitors what the employee does over the course of a number of months, processing all the information.

If this becomes a widespread practice, we could see white collar jobs affected much in the same way as blue collar.

Some are optimistic about the future of jobs. They believe that technology is going to create a lot more jobs than it destroys. After all, this is what happened historically.

The problem with this view is that we have never seen the pace which things are moving. While there is a problem for companies finding workers as we start to exit the pandemic, this situation could be short-lived. The equilibrium could change quickly as we are seeing.

When Amazon's biggest warehouse to date (when it does open) employs only 1,000 people, that ought to tell you how things are going. To add 100K new jobs is going to require a lot of warehouses, something even this retail giant is not going to do.

The push towards automation is a wonderful thing. It increases productivity, lowers costs of goods, and helps profit margins. The downside to this is the fact that jobs are crushed in the process.

And this is a quandary we have yet to have a serious discussion about.

At some point, it will become too obvious to ignore.


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The push towards automation is a wonderful thing. It increases productivity, lowers costs of goods, and helps profit margins. The downside to this is the fact that jobs are crushed in the process.

Change is inevitable, we must adapt or die.
Upvoted and reblogged!

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We also have to seriously consider the implications of what is going to be taking place and start to figure out alternative measures. This is going to come up on people very suddenly.

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True, it is going to cause job loss and relocation. I hope the government and private sector increase efforts to provide education and training to help people move into new jobs.
🙏

We'll all be rich with our dogecoin and elon sperm until this whole automation thing becomes a problem :)))

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That might be true for a lot but not "we" since I dont have any DOGE or Elon Sperm. So I am going to have to find something different.

But those who are into those might end up billionaires.

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I was being ironic since both are just memes and I don't think they will go anywhere in the long run. And I don't hold either as well

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I'm glad to see automation rolling right along... I suppose the next question that comes to my mind is whether the savings realized by the companies installing robotic workers will merely go to a fatter bottom line for them, or also reflected as lower prices to the end consumer.

=^..^=

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I would think it depends upon the industry. In anything highly competitive, the price is going to be rolled to the consumer. However, when things are going along fairly well, which people claim it is, it is a chance for companies to fatten their profits.

The first major pullback economically (or another one I should say) will see the price reductions taking place across the board.

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Covid has definitely accelerated the digitization and automation inside our current systems.

We have no other option but to adapt as per the situation. Robots and Drones would have been of great help during the peak of the pandemic.

Jobs are crushed but other opportunities are popping too. Many people would have to upskill or reskill to adjust.

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Jobs are crushed but other opportunities are popping too. Many people would have to upskill or reskill to adjust.

I think this is a failed premise. In the US, we historically are pretty poor at this. It means that the likelihood of it getting better in the future is minimal.

Personally, I view this concept as a failed policy that governments are going to try to implement because it makes sense to them but will end up not working for the most part.

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It definitely has, I've been having a few meetings in regards to how this will change economies and at its core employment for people.

If things are made locally then it can support growth and development but many things are still made overseas.

Australia recently announced it had invented COVID19 killing masks. A great success, except they're not being made here.

People always look for the lowest dollar but it costs jobs. Now that we're shifting back to locally made it will cause issues around affordability, things at the bottom need to be lifted but at a slow rate or things will collapse.

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People always look for the lowest dollar but it costs jobs.

This has always been the case. The challenge with things right now is that we are moving towards a time when things are created locally, just not with people. Automation is going to take over that end of things.

So where does that leave everything? That is the big question I do not believe those in power are trying to answer (probably because there is no easy answer).

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And this is a quandary we have yet to have a serious discussion about.

I think it will have to be discussed indeed. It's a matter of when, not if, now. Automation will increase exponentially in the next few years and society is not remotely ready for that new reality.

You know that believe that the net effect of automation is positive, even job-wise, but that is not consistent on all levels of society, unfortunately. I believe a major shift in our education model will be needed as some professions will be 100% automated.

That should take some years still, but we should be talking about it now. We are late.

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You know that believe that the net effect of automation is positive, even job-wise, but that is not consistent on all levels of society, unfortunately. I believe a major shift in our education model will be needed as some professions will be 100% automated.

How long until the education itself is automated?

And I think there is a lot more than just the positive effect of automation. I think we are in for a seismic shift in our economies which is going to end up with radical transformation.

However, that is not going to resolve the problem.

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At some point, it will become too obvious to ignore.

I think most of the public is aware of it to an extent (or at least I hope). The problem is that our politicians are going to try to prop up the old system as much as possible. Though I am wondering if they already realized and tried to an alternative through UBI (unemployment benefits).

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That could well be the case. Either way, the disconnect is that it is not being addressed in an adequate manner. The old solutions will not work. However, they are going to keep going to that well it seems.

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