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Robots Will Not Take Jobs

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Robots are seen by many to be the future of manufacturing. Some worry that robots will be the cause of mass job takeovers within the next few decades. But the number of jobs that can be easily taken over by a robot are lower than many people think. Robots will not be taking over human jobs in the coming decades. The jobs that make up the majority of the world’s workforce are too fluid and unpredictable to be done by robots in way that would replace humans. In a study across 21 different countries, when taking into account the many tasks that have to be done within a single occupation, it was found that only 9% of jobs are able to be automated by robots. Despite the increased productivity and speed that robots can sometimes provide over human work, the majority of manufacturing companies would not currently be able to replace their workforce with robots because of the high up-front costs of purchasing and retrofitting these robots. Along with the relatively cheap labour most companies can employ, replacing humans with robots in the workforce is not a cost-effective alternative to human labour.

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There is also historical evidence showing that technological change that works more efficiently often does not lead to job loss but rather leads to the increase in jobs in different fields. There have been widespread fears about technology causing mass joblessness many times in the past. Such as in the early 1960s, when thousands of jobs were being eliminated every week by automation, and in the 1990s where there were even predictions that technology would result in the “End of Work”, both times these resulted in more jobs being created then there were before. Some believe that robots are advancing too quickly for the job market to catch up like it has in the past. But that theory fails to account for human labour being cheaper than using robots.

Therefore, in many jobs, robots are not being implemented as much as some predict. There is no real evidence that robots will be taking jobs in the near future. There are too many jobs that are unpredictable and cannot be done by a robot, as well as jobs that are more cheaply done by humans then robots. Alongside the historical evidence showing little job loss when new, more efficient, technologies were created, there is strong evidence that robots will not be taking jobs in the foreseeable future.

15 July 2020

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