The all-human workforce is still very much alive — and contributing. It has changed a lot, however. Machines aid workers one way or another today, in various industries and workplaces. But there’s still a future that’s yet to come: a fully automated workforce. It’s a situation that futurists either fear or look forward to, depending on several circumstances.
When talking about machines taking over the workforce, it’s not always ‘robots’ per se. The contraptions can be as simple as fully automated presses or CNC machines, the latter courtesy of companies like FlexDrill CNC and others. These contraptions still require human intervention. Looking at other factors, however, reveal some potentially positive results.
Actual Fears Or Paranoia?
Millions of jobs have been lost—85 percent of the 5.6 million positions in the U.S. and Canada — to machines. Many people think this is terrible news. In truth, there are upsides to this change. Inflation-adjusted manufacturing output in America increased by 40 percent over the last two decades, to the tune of $2.4 trillion in annual value added by American factories. It means that even though manual jobs are few, more work gets done because of automation.
Also, employing machines is becoming cheaper. Labor costs can be cut down by as much as 33 percent globally, due to faster and more efficient machinery (mainly robots) becoming affordable for the manufacturing sector.
By 2025, experts predict that a robotic welder, for example, can drop to as little as $103,000. Hence, manufacturing can churn out more products in less time, while also costing less than when it first came out. In short, machines are becoming more cost-effective than human laborers.
If people worry about losing their jobs to machines, they don’t have to. Unless completely autonomous, self-programming AI machines get invented soon, these automated workers require human intervention to work. They won’t program themselves and would need training from operators to ensure that the job will be done.
And who’s to think that robots and their kin can’t work alongside humans? With a mechanical counterpart, people can be as efficient as they’ve ever been. The fear of machines taking over the global workforce (and putting people out of work) is a misinformed one. It should stop.