Society

Human Replacement with Machines

Automation technologies play a critical role in enhancing performance in daily life, especially in the work environment. Surprisingly, work automation will eliminate the already diminishing work vacancies around the globe. As highlighted in the Mckinsey report, automation is inevitable since new technologies are innovated daily. For this reason, automation is transforming the work environment for everybody, including top management (McKinsey & Company, 2017). However, this can only happen if machines can be programmed to understand the human language. Such advancement would create workplace automation with about 53percent to 60 percent. It can replace human labor with about 66 percent (Seiffer, Gnewuch, & Maedche, 2021).  The technological transformations will replace the technical workforce soon as employers will invest in artificial intelligence machines capable of undertaking nearly all the tasks that humans do. Notably, most companies have automated most of their services in developed countries. Companies such as Barclays bank, standard chartered, and bank of America, among others, have partially automated their services. However, they are bound to automate their functions as technology advances fully. Developed countries such as China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan, among other advanced countries, have already embraced automation technologies in automotive, electrical and electronics, and metal manufacturing.

Robots are not a new concept in the workplace- robots are expanding employees’ skills, showing incredible productivity and retaining rates while gradually moving aside from their human counterparts. For example, a multi-tasker bot from momentum technologies can make a hamburger in ten seconds and could soon substitute a substantial amount of McDonald’s employees. Also, a manufacturing gadget from universal robots does not only coat, screw, solder, glue, and grasp, but it also builds original parts for itself when the parts wear out or rupture. Recently, Amazon has secured a patent to build worker robots with human personalities (Delfanti, & Frey, 2021). The vision of jobless workers is real. The advances in technology justify that computers, machines, robots, and algorithms will flawlessly execute routine tasks undertaken by humans. It’s not just about lower-skilled jobs, but individuals with college degrees like lawyers are doing the tasks that are ultimately predictable.

For this reason, a lot of these jobs are going to be vulnerable over time. Accordingly, robots make some managers redundant. Certain types of executives become excessive as enterprises escalate automation. As different tasks and processes become automated, human errors are diminished.  Technology is used to produce reports on what machines have done and what material they have used. Moreover, they can consolidate it to the enterprise level to quickly get a myriad of operative metrics. These are the kind of things that executives do. However, it’s a bit intricate than that. Even though robot adoption increases employment, the increase is not homogenous across skills (Barker, & Jewitt, 2021). This is because; low-skilled workers such as box packers and high-skilled professionals are growing in numbers while middle-skilled workers are stagnant.  Someone who supervises low-skilled laborers can manage many employees when firms adopt robots due to efficiency and standardization. High-skilled people are responsible for innovation, and they are better than their managers. They no longer need managers to supervise them. Robots have resulted in a broken career ladder since there are no supervisory jobs.

Contrary to popular belief, robots are not going to replace workers entirely. While it’s typically true that there is a reduction of the number of employees when entities adopt robots, Casilli (2021) notes that increased automation subsequently led to more hiring overall, perhaps to complement the work done by robots. Firms adopting robots are becoming so productive to the extent of hiring more people to meet the escalating demand in production. Alluding to Urze, Rosas & Camarinha-Matos (2021), non-adopting firms are experiencing employment loss as this firm becomes less productive compared to adopters.  Non adopting firms generally find themselves losing competitive advantage, and as a consequence, they need to lay off workers to avoid further losses.

However, developing countries are yet to adopt automation technologies mainly due to the high costs associated with purchasing such techniques and the lack of adequate labor to run and maintain those industrial robots. Globally, the effects of robots are felt a great deal. This is because most companies opt to purchase industrial robots and software, and applications that will cut wage costs hence increasing the company’s productivity. Notably, the maintenance costs of these machines and systems are cheap compared to hiring employees; therefore, we anticipate that more jobs will be lost due to the technological revolution.  To remain competitive and relevant in today’s job market and avoid losing the job to automated machines, one needs to update skills and enroll in IT classes to enhance skills in this technological era. Therefore, through adequate training, you are assured that automation technology will not affect your profession.

References

Barker, N., & Jewitt, C. (2021). Future touch in industry: exploring sociotechnical imaginaries of tactile (tele)robots – UCL Discovery. Ucl.ac.uk. https://doi.org/https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140111/

Casilli, A. A. (2021). Waiting for robots: the ever-elusive myth of automation and the global exploitation of digital labor. Sociologias23(57), 112–133. https://doi.org/10.1590/15174522-114092

Delfanti, A., & Frey, B. (2021). Humanly extended automation or the future of work seen through Amazon patents. Science, Technology, & Human Values46(3), 655-682. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243920943665

McKinsey & Company, 2017, “Robotics & Automation | McKinsey Digital.”  www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/how-we-help-clients/robotics-and-automation. Accessed 14 Dec. 2021.

Seiffer, A., Gnewuch, U., & Maedche, A. (2021). Understanding Employee Responses to Software Robots: A Systematic Literature Review. https://aisel.aisnet.org/icis2021/is_future_work/is_future_work/5

Urze, P., Rosas, J., & Camarinha-Matos, L. M. (2021). Working Beside Robots: A Glimpse into the Future. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, 138–147. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85969-5_12

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