Workforce Automation: Scary Threat or Major Opportunity?

Friday, May 10, 2019

Despite dire predictions that robots and automation will displace workers, studies predict automation and robotics will actually create more — but different — jobs than they displace.

You might have read about the “Second Machine Age,” in which automated technologies perform more and more work that humans have been doing — and machines become competitors rather than helpers. Some people talk about the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and the disruptions that it will bring. Inevitably, such discussion stokes fears that a lot of people will see their livelihoods dry up as machines take over their work.

“Those seem to be the headlines,” acknowledges Bob Doyle, vice president of the Robotic Industries Association. Some real-world examples are from articles in respected publications: “Robots in the Workplace? Each 1 Costs 6 Jobs, New Study Finds”“How to Survive the Robot-Fueled Jobs Apocalypse”…“Evidence That Robots Are Winning the Race for American Jobs.” Those ominous headlines, though, don’t line up with the actual findings of a number of studies, Doyle responds. “If you dig into the reports, they say automation and robotics will create more jobs than they displace,” he says.

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