Will the Use of Industrial Robots Threaten Your Job?
The use of industrial robots has greatly increased since the turn of the century. As the technology becomes more advanced and costs go down, more and more industries will consider its integration. Likewise, artificial intelligence will facilitate learning and decision-making in machines. According to the World Economic Forum, smart machines will take over 80 million jobs in the next five years. The percentage of machines in the workforce will increase from 30% at present to more than 50% within the next five years.
Most importantly, millions of people have already lost their jobs as businesses took hit during the recent coronavirus pandemic. When things come back to normal, some of them might never recover their jobs. Employers have found it cost-effective to automate some of the jobs that humans perform daily. Likewise, computers are less error-prone given that the operator correctly instructs them.
So, we must understand that the use of industrial robots will be more pronounced in the coming years. And, if we want to survive in this dynamic environment, we must assess its impacts on our jobs. This will help us upgrade and update our skills so that they will remain relevant even during heavy use of automation.
Where Will They Be Mostly Used?
The use of industrial robots is already growing across multiple industries. In the coming years, the development and manufacturing of smart, decision-making robots will become cost-effective. Therefore, repetitive, manual labour in a non-changing, predictable environment will be more vulnerable. In the following section, we will discuss some of the key industries that will see a growth in the use of industrial robots.
It is a no-brainer that the use of industrial robots will increase in the field of manufacturing in the coming years. Since the turn of the century, more than 1.5 million jobs in the manufacturing sector have been lost to robots. According to Oxford Economics, robots could replace up to 20 million jobs by the end of this decade. Most of these replacements will take place in China, where the manufacturing of smart robots is becoming more cost-effective. The typical jobs carried out by robots include pick and place, assembly and disassembly, product inspection and testing, and tasks like painting and welding.
So, should you be worried about your job in the factory? It depends on what you do. If your task is repetitive and requires no personalization and customization, robots may do it more efficiently and 24/7. Even if it requires some intelligence, advancement in AI can make this possible. However, some tasks are best if left to humans. First, there must be a supervisor who will inspect if the robots are working properly. Second, creativity is more natural in humans and also more cost-effective. Most importantly, we will need humans to program, service, and operate these robots. The bottom line is that your job will likely change than disappear, and you must prepare for it now.
Healthcare and Medicine
Healthcare and medicine are where the use of industrial robots has been successful over the past few decades. In the coming years, intelligent robots will cause a loss of a number of jobs. However, on the bright side, it will also create other types of jobs. Therefore, humans and robots will work together and complement each other just like now. It is only that the jobs will be different from what they are now. Furthermore, healthcare and medicine require close human contact, empathy, and understanding. Similarly, it will take time before people can be assured that robots will work in life-and-death situations.
In construction, the use of industrial robots will increase as compared to what it is now. There is a great potential for automation in tasks like excavation and grading. However, they will not replace the human factor. Construction is a critical job where machines cannot be left out on their own. When humans are freed from tiring, repetitive labor, they will move into more skilful tasks, inspection and supervision. Likewise, operating and programming the robots will always be necessary as changes in the working environment occur. Furthermore, construction is an industry where there is already a great shortage of human workers.
Retail is where the use of industrial robots will be more pronounced in the coming years. As they become equipped with more intelligence and abilities, they will be able to carry out most of the repetitive human tasks. What does this mean for human workers, then? This means that humans will be engaged in high-value, high-skill jobs like customer service, interaction, and sales. E-commerce giant Amazon has already developed a program to help its employees quit jobs that can be more efficiently handled by automation. Under the Delivery Services Partner program, Amazon will pay its employees $10,000 to start their own Amazon delivery business.
What Should You Do Now?
So, how do we prepare for the inevitable growing use of industrial robots across multiple industries in the future? We prepare for the change by changing ourselves. First, we must accept that our knowledge and skills cannot stay constant in this dynamic world. The following are tips and habits that will make you relevant no matter the level of automation that we adopt.
Always Keep Learning
If we want to survive in this information age, we must keep learning new skills and sharpening the existing ones. The good news is that you need not pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in sophisticated college education. There are tons of free resources on the Internet that can prepare you for the new age. If you want a heads up, focus on problem-solving, creativity, and management skills because we will be better than robots in these for a significant future.
Learn to Collaborate with Robots
The future of work will likely be the collection of intelligent humans and machines. Therefore, instead of being afraid of losing your job, prepare your knowledge and skills that help you to collaborate. Most of the operation, programming, and supervision of machines in the workplace will be done by humans.
Communicate With Your Employer
One of the best things you can do now is to communicate with your employer about your concerns. If possible, ask for new types of jobs that will help you practice your new knowledge and skills. Most importantly, understand that the ball is in your court and what you do now will impact your future.
Never Miss an Update in Tech with Top World Business
In this blog, we have learned about the use of industrial robots and how they will have a major role to play in the future of work. We understood the statistics about when, where, and how automation will impact the job market. Similarly, we talked about the use cases of these robots in multiple industries and how humans’ jobs can change. Finally, we concluded with some tips and habits that will help you prepare for the future of automation.
Top World Business is a one-stop place for all the technology news from every corner of the globe. Our aim is to keep you updated on recent and future tech trends so you can use them to your advantage. Contact us if you have any further queries.