Robots Replacing Workers at the Pace of Technology
In a globally competitive market, increased production efficiency can make the difference between success and failure, stasis and expansion. The rising cost of labor in developed countries has led to outsourcing, but there is a compelling alternative: robots. Semiconductor manufacturers have been on board for some time, replacing low-skill, high-paying jobs with machines that perform manual labor.
Predictions by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) indicate that manufacturers in leading export economies will increase their investment in robots by 10% annually for the next ten years. This will be an increase from the 3% average annual investment in robots recorded previously.
Currently, about 10% of the jobs that can be handled by machines have already been automated. As the cost of robots decreases with innovation, the BCG predicts more manufacturers will automate their workforce, increasing that figure to 23% by 2025.
The State Of Our Replacements
Recent inventions are opening new opportunities for manufacturers. Whereas old machines could only follow a predictable pattern of operation, modern ones react to changing situations in a manner similar to human workers.
Robots can be programmed to adapt to new procedures more quickly than human workers can be trained. Therefore, the loss of productivity due to training will be reduced or eliminated. This is especially helpful when it comes to the production of items that quickly become obsolete.
Bringing (Human) Jobs Back: Where, And How Many?
The economies of many developed countries have suffered because of outsourcing. With the increased use of robots, factories may return. As always, the price of new machinery is weighed against the ongoing cost of low-skill labor. Manufacturers will continue to hire and retain highly skilled employees to oversee operation. Meanwhile, employment in economies with low labor costs may suffer as previously outsourced jobs return to developed countries.
Semiconductor manufacturers continue to pioneer the robot revolution. Other industries usually hesitate to adopt these technologies until they become more mainstream, choosing instead to outsource in order to cut costs. Bottom line? Don’t blame the robots, but do plan ahead and develop the skills required in the emerging, more specialized labor pool.
Source: New York Times