Maybe job-stealing robots aren’t that bad? Five benefits of job automation

You may have heard that the robotic doomsday is on its way; armed with an endless supply of energy and unbeatable work ethic, these robots are ready and willing to steal our jobs. However, like the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, a robotic revolution might not be something to fear.

A recent report from the Stockholm School of Economics Institute for Research, suggests that the ‘substitution of labour’ by robots has heaps of benefits that you might not have considered! Read on for five reasons not to fear the incoming robots.

1. It’s creating new jobs.

You may have heard that robots at work are creating a ‘polarisation’ effect; occupying jobs with skills that are right in the middle of the workforce, so that there are more jobs at the top and bottom of the ladder leaving few opportunities in between. That’s bad for a number of reasons, mostly because you’re forcibly stuck in your socio-economic circumstances.

New research is suggesting that polarisation will decrease as technology advances. This is because AI is getting better at low-skilled manual labour, and highly-skilled cognitive labour, spreading its capabilities across the board. It’s also creating technician jobs for machine operators of robots, and increasing demand for human skills like emotion, problem-solving and flexibility.

2. More robots means more creativity for us

An increase in automated tasks leaves the creative and emotionally-intelligent human brain free to perform those exact functions. Maybe robots will steal our jobs, but they’ll be stealing the boring parts!

3. It doesn’t mean you’ll lose your job… maybe.

This one is hard to predict, but if past technological trends are anything to go by, new technology has never created a significant rise in unemployment. We might see an increase in unemployment rates to begin with, but it should at least steady out over time as we adjust and new jobs are created.

4. Your robot colleagues will be working weekends

This study suggests that as a basis of future jobs, we humans will be getting higher education in robotics and technology. As managers of our robotic workforce, our topline jobs are simplified and our workloads lightened, meaning shorter working weeks and luxuriously long weekends. I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced.

5. We won’t go broke from lack of trade

Stakeholders in industries like manufacturing are worried that automation means cheap labour and the end of off-shore manufacturing. Not only is automation potentially more ethical than exploitative human labour, it’s predicted to maintain trade links. Automation will simplify global trade, making it easier to partner with off-shore traders.

What do you think? Will you be welcoming the robotic revolution with open arms?

– Eliza Brockwell

GIFs via Giphy.com

artificial intelligence

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