Robots Are Being Embraced By Businesses

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COVID-19 really accelerated things. One area is in the area of automation.

This really should not come as much of a surprise. Over the last year, we saw a lot of companies announcing they were adding more to their warehouses or implementing RPA system in their offices. Software developers are including more features in their ERP products.

All of this is leading to a pretty dark story for employees.

Of course, this also should not be shocking to most people. Some still believe that we are going to see more jobs created as a result of technology yet the pace of things is going to make this tough. Instead we are going to see massive job eradication.

The combination of automation and digitization is going to make it very difficult for employees.

Manufacturing is obviously an industry that is at the head of the list. We are seeing robots really penetrating this sector.

The latest jobs report shows the manufacturing sector grew at its fastest level since the pandemic began, jumping by 50,000 positions. However, there are still about half a million fewer employed manufacturing workers than there were a year ago. The question is how many of those jobs will come back — and how many have been permanently disrupted by digital processes.

This basically sums it all up. All the jobs lost and maybe 10% have returned. Even if we see these numbers reverse, where 90% return to pre-pandemic levels, that still would be 50K manufacturing jobs lost.

Sadly, from the looks of things, even if things go well, we will still see a reduction of 150K-250K.

What we are seeing is aligning with the stats that people who study this subject are coming up with.

Yet it’s estimated every one automated device replaces six human workers, according to Daron Acemoglu, an MIT professor of economics who studies the effects on labor. While about three of the displaced workers will find other jobs, the other workers "withdraw from the labor force," he said, with the greatest labor force participation happening among prime age males without college degrees.

So for each automated device, we see 3 people permanently out of the labor force. This is a tough situation to confront.

What we are finding is that companies that develop and make these products are seeing their sales increase.

Rockwell Automation, a provider of industrial automation solutions, said growth is up 6 percent for the fiscal year and saw sharply increased orders in November and December.

Orders for automated machines are up 30 percent at Eastman Machine Company, a Buffalo, New York-based manufacturer that produces machines that cut specialty materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass, increasingly in demand for cars, aerospace and wind turbines. The backlog for a new device extends to June, their longest in company history.

Here we are seeing how the automation industry is forging ahead. There is little doubt that companies are seeking to implement technologies in their operations.

As noted, this is not new. We saw this trend in place long before COVID-19. However, the process was accelerated enormously by the pandemic. Companies suddenly found themselves unable to operate since workers were locked down. Social distancing because the norm meaning that warehouse staffs were seriously reduced.

How bad could things get?

Robots could replace as many as 2 million more workers in manufacturing by 2025, Acemoglu found, contributing to wage inequality, a slowdown in labor demand, and an even higher share of GDP going to the owners of capital than labor.

Source

Manufacturing is a sector that started to see job destruction decades ago. Yet the production of the United States has consistently increased in spite of what people believe. It all was not outsourced.

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The story in the manufacturing realm is that we are see record production yet the industry is down around 2 million people from the high.

Companies are getting more with less.

Of course, manufacturing is not the only segment that is following this trend. Through advancements in software, we are seeing automation in the office moving ahead full tilt. RPA is shifting tasks done by workers to computers, thus reducing the need for an many people.

Even though complete replacement of all workers is not in the cards anytime soon, we are seeing an evolutionary progression in the direction of less workers.

This all sounds like gloom and doom. However, it is a viewpoint that is grounded in what is taking place with technological advancements. We have a situation where the retraining of personnel is non-existent. People who follow this situation urge governments to step up their attention on this.

Politicians do nothing more pay this lip service, preferring to kick the can down the road. Therefore, we will see nothing done on that front until it is too late. Politicians are ideal in that they are always late to the party.

Corporations are not going to retrain people since they know that labor is usually their biggest expense. Anything to reduce this is welcomed by them.

A labor force that is desperate is ideal for them. This will help to suppress wages since they can cherry pick who they want. Those selected will simply be happy to be employed.

Worst hit are going to be those who are uneducated and do not have the skillset for the 21st century. This means tens of millions could find themselves in a very challenging situation in the not too distant future.

It is a trend that is firmly in place. At this point, it is impossible to deny.

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Now I only wonder what those governments will do to distract people from looking at their own failures. Nobody is happen when it takes a bill 9 months to get passed or when issues aren't being resolved swiftly.

I wonder when almost all of society will be run by robots and if this happens, will VR/AR be run by robots eventually?

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Self coding AI was already witnessed. So we will get to the point where you think about a VR world, and it will be created for you.

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I wonder if someone will make a self-coding AI focused on ruining the world. It would be a huge mess so they need to be careful how they proceed with things like that.

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I have witnessed first hand, automation is beginning to be more prominent in the financial services sector, like you mentioned near the end. Where there are lots of "bots" doing the work of many workers. Bots are even starting to replace call centres, although I think the technology is not really up top scratch yet, its very clear when you are talking to a chatbot vs a real person.

This makes me think, what advice would you give to children studying in the future, I think it all boils down to what jobs are hard to replace with machines and computers, I think parents may start to encourage children to branch out to more creative skills, as opposed to expecting them to be engineers, lawyers and accountants. Which are by no means going to become obsolete but do have a bigger threat from automation as there is less reliance on creativity in these roles.

You don't find too many blacksmiths around anymore today, which occupation is next, and how do we start retraining and helping those transition away from jobs at threat from automation.

Train humans how to dance and play.

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This makes me think, what advice would you give to children studying in the future

A question often pondered.

There was the idea of focusing upon creative endeavors a few years ago since the belief was that computers will not be able to replicate that. Recently, we saw this theory obliterated as AI is now writing songs and creating videos.

Thus, outside cybersecurity, which we know will be important in the future, what does one go into? Tough choice. I think the key will be to remain flexible and do not get married to one career or profession. Things will change.

Getting involved in crypto is probably a great starting point since that is an equalizer in my opinion.

And yes Fintech started the process of automation a number of years ago and it is only accelerating.

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I think automation will take up a lot of jobs in the future but again in the future since we have so much technology advancement we will see more human jobs getting created. It's not about the job will not be there in the market but it's about getting up skilled to that level so that you can get any job as per your preference.

...in the future since we have so much technology advancement we will see more human jobs getting created.

This is the commonly held belief but will that translate into reality. To start, the pace of automation might exceed the skills required. Plus, as we enter more of the digital realm, there is less that a computer cannot do.

I think this is a risky assumption to simply believe that in the past technology created more jobs so it will this time.

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Robots and automation in general. I'm getting more and more client projects for UiPath and Alteryx along with some basic python and vba automation scripts.

This has been a theme since I was a kid.. I would expect that to come to fruition soon, and most concepts that begin as entertainment pieces do.

As a result of the pandemic, we have seen how institutions that were working with a large number of people are still standing with only half of the workers, understanding that now many are overloaded with work or that before there were more people than work.
Automation is coming, but it will never be 100%, human talent will always be needed, what is a reality is that in many sectors the number of jobs will decrease, we will see migrations to other sectors.

What other sectors will we see migration to?

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It really does paint a pretty gloomy picture for the future. However, I'm sure our government will find a way to create a few new "departments" to employ a few million people so these companies can pay their salaries. How soon do you think it will be before they start taxing robots? (I'm only half joking)

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It will come and actually is not a bad policy. It does replace what is lost in payroll taxes. Of course, that puts the government at the center of the distribution system, something that is not a good idea.

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Easy access to quality education ( not just worthless degrees )it's going to be crucial going forward if we don't want massive social inequality

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... if we don't want massive social inequality

It already exists, it is just a matter of to what degree depending upon the country.

Easy access to quality education

What does this mean and who is going to design it? The educational system is not in touch with what is taking place since they are 5 years behind what is being forged in the business world.

Governments are even more clueless.

So who is going to come up with the quality education curriculum?

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in my country the education system is like 30 years behind. I don't have answers to your questions but there are a lot of people who get paid big wages so that they can find those answers :)

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Only the beginning and yes last year speed this process up greatly! I bet in a few years from now we will look back and find these to be rather primitive robots. It's going to be interesting to watch as more and more people are out of jobs and what might take it's place instead. How will people earn, who and how many need to manage, fix and work with robots. Will there always be a hybrid between people and machine or will machine for the most part take over and at one point become autonomous.

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I bet in a few years from now we will look back and find these to be rather primitive robots.

I dont know how long it will take but we know these are primitive robots compared to what we will have down the road. Just like the software we have today is light years ahead of what we dealt with a decade ago.

How will people earn, who and how many need to manage, fix and work with robots.

A question not being discussed since everyone wants to put their heads in the sand. We were adept at creating a lot of bullcrap jobs over the last few decades. Now we are eliminating them as they are shown not to be needed.

We will see how it all works out. I have a feeling the governments will be late to the party as usual so there will be a lot of pain in the process.

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Robots could replace as many as 2 million more workers in manufacturing by 2025

The bad thing about it is the imagination of 2 million workers
And each worker if he supports a family of only 4 members
We have 8 million people who will not have a subsistence day

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In the US it is a lower ratio than that but your point is valid. There are a lot more than 2 million people who are sustained by those jobs.

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Physical jobs are taken by robots and one side I believe this is good. I understand the social repercussions of it, but people need to evolve and continuously learn something new. We need the right institutions in place, but the revolution is here and we need to pivot.

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That is true. We do need to evolve. Right now we dont know to what but it is something that needs to be done.

Most jobs suck so it is worthwhile to move past them. Sadly, people are dependent upon them for sustenance.

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I might be part of a team looking to move manufacturing form China and its going to be a fully automated process from product manufacturing all the way to the pallets being loaded into the truck. The only way to compete with their low labor cut is to cut the human element out. We rand the numbers and with current tech we can make the product at an equivalent price to possibly a discount. Not to mention we would be full integrated and have better control over quality.

With that being said tech is the future low paying manual jobs are going to be cut because even that is more costly than adding automation.

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I have wally world in mind.
They have so much labor in their warehouse
with so much conveyor belt.
The last word you said is key
Folks need to embrace technology and find ways to better themselves.

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There is a tailoring factory nearby where quite a few women work. Their solution to combat automation and robots: work for top brands world-wide for limited edition / expensive clothing, where robots are not used, but instead cheap qualified human labor.

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