Robots have started taking over jobs at an increasing pace. It won’t be long before they will be coming for your job, as well, according to surveys.
Analyst firm Deloitte and Oxford University are forecasting that a total of 35% of all jobs are at risk of being replaced by robots in the next 20 years. This forecast already seems a little too conservative when we look at the latest news.
The BBC reported that Foxconn Technology Group, one of the world’s biggest tech manufacturers, has already replaced 60 000 workers with robots. This has happened in one factory alone where the workforce has been reduced from 110 000 to 50 000.
Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.” Naturally, this news has caused a stir and people are worried they will be losing their jobs. Foxconn was quick to reply that it doesn’t envision this transformation will cost too many jobs.
“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control. We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China”, says the official reply of Foxconn to the BBC.
Many other companies are also eagerly waiting to automation and robots to become capable of more specific tasks. Even putting French fries in a bag at McDonald’s can be replaced by a robot. Former McDonald’s chief executive Ed Rensi recently told the US’s Fox Business program a minimum-wage increase to $15 an hour would make companies consider robot workers. “It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries,” he said.
Adidas has also announced it will start marketing its first series of shoes which are manufactured by robots, The Guardian reported. The first robot-made shoes will hit the market in 2017 in Germany first. Later in the same year they will hit the USA market with a new Speed Factory which will be making the shoes.
The realistic view
While a very delicate topic which most companies are avoiding for now, it won’t be long before they have to face it and inform their workers (most of) their services will no longer be needed. It sounds grim and the explanations people will be able to focus on doing more productive tasks are not well received. The fact is though, this is exactly the case. It will take quite some time before robots can and will be trusted with tasks which require creativity or simply “a human touch”.
It is why for example retailers still prefer to have real people at the other end of their call centers instead of robots or chat bots. The latter will for sure be used for repetitive tasks, like confirming an order for example. But there are some aspects in business which will always need human interaction. Like troubleshooting or taking a custom order and so on.
That’s great, you say, but what about other jobs? Well, the sad truth is that, yes, quite some jobs will be replaced by robots. Just like automated call centers replaced telephone operators back in the day. If you are reading this, though, you are already ahead of the curve. The key to keeping your job as robots start taking them over is simple. Continue to stay ahead of the curve and develop your skills. Qualified people with a good skill set will always be needed to keep everything developing and running. You are at the right place as our marketplace has thousands of top training courses for various IT platforms and providers. All you need to keep improving and expanding is here on CourseDot.
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / JeffDoe