Will Factory Automation Really Lead To Job Loss?

Robots are becoming more capable and a lot cheaper. For manufactures, that means the prospect of hiring one or more to complete different jobs on the factory floor looks increasingly realistic and affordable. Many manufactures are already using robots to weld autos, pack shipping crates, assemble parts, install fasteners, and even inspect and prepare food.  A popular notion is that for every robot a factory adopts, that means less of the same work for humans. In the case of low skilled workers, that may be true. But will an automation-based future in manufacturing also create new opportunities for humans–apart from just robotics designers and engineers? It turns out what we consider to be a typical manufacturing job may soon change.

Rise of automation may not cause job losses | Boston Herald

“While robotics will displace a bunch of workers today, it’s going to create opportunities for new types of jobs. There’s a whole set of tasks that come along with plugging these types of robotics into your production system.”

–       Justin Rose, Boston Consulting Group

When robots start doing the work of welders, inspectors, and line technicians, more  manufacturing companies will rely on programmers and robotics operators to ensure automation goes as smoothly as intended and capabilities can be modified.  This will certainly change the way manufacturers structure their business and how they hire, but it could amount to good things for U.S. productivity and our ability to complete globally?

Do you think more robots and cheaper automation are a good thing for manufacturing and the U.S.?

2 thoughts on “Will Factory Automation Really Lead To Job Loss?

  1. The way I see it, most of the agriculture and industrial jobs are already phased out by machines. Over 70% of jobs and labor is currently to find in the service sector, but also this sector is being phased out and replaced by automation which means decreased purchasing power of the general public. They loose their jobs and need welfare to support themselves until they get a new job, if they ever do. But, where does welfare come from? It comes from tax payers. And do people on welfare pay taxes? They don’t. So, what happens when everybody is on welfare due to automation and nobody pays taxes? This example is the reality in Michigan and the government there have been on the brink of shutting down due this exact issue.

  2. I find this issue debatable. Media company AOL laid off roughly 150 employees Friday, or 3% of its staff. The bulk of the layoffs, or close to 100, were in sales, a result of the company’s surging growth in so-called programmatic ad sales. The reorganization and corresponding layoffs come as AOL seeks to streamline costs and focus on AOL’s growth prospects, which include its move toward automated large-scale ad sales using computer algorithms, known as programmatic ad sales. Is this a form of automation or robotics?

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