Robots will create more jobs than they replace, says report

There is an often-cited belief that robots will replace human workers and lead to mass unemployment, but a report by the World Economic Forum contradicts this theory by stating that robots will replace 75 million workers, but will create an additional 133 million jobs.

These figures were compiled from data provided by business leaders across 12 industries in 20 emerging economies. Collectively, these companies represent 70% of the global GDP.

John Kirven of tech giant Canon commented on the findings:

“Don’t get me wrong, technology will change the way jobs are performed, but this doesn’t need to mean redundancies, just like previous revolutions did not. Instead, it will make factories more productive, with workers using their time to perform the tasks to which they are more suited to than machines.”

For repetitive tasks, robots could replace workers who can then learn new skills to perform more satisfying jobs. For example, at Macphie Ltd, a robot stacks bakery goods in a freezer. This job was previously carried out with workers and manual handling equipment in sub-zero temperatures. For safety reasons, employees were only allowed to work for 10 minutes at a time before leaving the freezer. Robots can work all day and no employee has to regularly work in these difficult conditions.

Many warehouses, storage, and pick and pack operations still rely on workers with heavy duty trolleys. Technology to help workers locate items quicker is useful, but in many storage areas it remains not cost-effective to replace humans with robots.

Posted by Derek
26th September 2018

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