Category: Jobs

Employees Fear Robots May Take Jobs or Does Amazon Have it Right?

Here are two very interesting articles that show the pros and cons of robots. Bottom line, it is whether you have a positive attitude toward technology and automation or you fear both technology and automation. As you have the opportunity to read the first article take note of what is causing the fear, so then when you read the second article, you can then sense that robots are helpful and do take away dangerous and boring jobs.

So, find your easy chair, pick up your iPad or laptop, grab yourself a Pepsi, Coke, or water and take a little time reading. I think you will find these fascinating.

Fears of Robots

Amazon Robots, 1,500 Humans together

Quote for the Day: “The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” — Joseph Addison

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Robots are not the cause of unemployment

PricewaterhouseCoopers (dba PwC) researched and wrote a report that said over a third of jobs in the United States were ripe to be replaced by automation. PwC is a consulting firm that was acquired by IBM and folded into IBM Global Business Services unit in October 2002. Eventually PwC began to rebuild its management consulting practice by acquiring firms such as Bearing Point and PTRM.

Because it gained experience and knowledge in the areas of automation and artificial intelligence within IBM, it has been able to use its research arm to develop reports of interest like this one. One of the key facets of the report is that those that could be at risk of automation are those that do not have as high an education level as others. The “high risk” industries include finance, hospitality, and transportation.

Robots were not deemed to replace that many human workers which runs contrary to other reports that have been seen on this site. The main reason is the cost of the robots, including repairs and maintenance, would be too expensive compared to human workers. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that artificial intelligence is not “even on my radar screen. I think it’s 50 or 100 more years.” This will come as a pleasant surprise for employees in some industries.

His take is that automation would enable human workers “to do more productive jobs at higher wages.” His focus is to ensure the U.S. is investing in education and training for the American worker.

And that’s the rub. Most industries have begun to hire more workers at lower wages than before 2008. Yes, more people are working, but for families it is almost a requirement for both the husband and the wife to work to make ends meet. Robots have become a secondary discussion since wage growth has been so anemic.

Quotes for the Day:

“All the technology in the world will never replace a positive attitude.”— Harvey Mackay

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances.”— Martha Washington

 

2016 Wrap-up

It is a few days shy of the end of 2016. Various authors have summarized what they felt the most important events that occurred over 2016. Since this is a blog about robots and motors, the link below will take you to an article that is one of the best. Enjoy the remainder of 2016 with an eye on a most fabulous 2017!

 

2016: The Year of Drones, Cars, Bots (and Less Jobs…)

 

Quote for the Day: “I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.”  —Audrey Hepburn

Follow-on to Recent Articles of “Will Automation Take Jobs?”

Seems there has been more written on this topic ever since the U.S. decided to raise the minimum wage from $7.50 to $10.10 with the view of moving it to $15/hour by 2022. Just read that Wendy’s restaurant chain has announced that it will roll out kiosks where you place your order without the help of a human in order to reduce payroll expenses. Other areas are starting to talk about using kiosks to get blood drawn and have lab work thus eliminating labor expenses.

On the flip side, this article does show that automation is nothing new. Concerning manufacturing employment as a percent of overall employment, that percent has been declining. It has been happening since 1954.

Here’s the link to the article from The Lane Report that is published from Lexington, KY.

Quote for the Day: ““Better questions to ask regarding a career or job choice would be: What was I born to do? What would be my greatest contribution to others? What do I really love to do (and when I’m doing it, time just flies by)? What are the recurring themes that I find myself drawn to? How do I want to be remembered?”  ― Dan Miller, Author of 48 Days to the Work You Love

Are You Blaming Robots for Slow Job Growth?

Since the Great Recession ended in late 2009 the jobs recovery has been rather sluggish. However, corporate profits, purchasing of equipment, and software has returned close to normal. The slow movement of the jobs recovery has caused some economists and technologists to place the blame on machines. Most believe the nature of work has changed and companies are adding automation rather than new employees.

I’m not as convinced and I’m not alone in this thinking. Some analysts believe that technology-led productivity improvements don’t affect all classes of workers the same, that high-skilled (data scientists) and low-skilled (janitors) workers aren’t as much affected as the semi-skilled, middle-income wage earners.

Bottom line it appears there are several culprits behind the slow return of jobs and these would be the formation of new businesses, the availability of credit, and that companies must invest more in information technology rather than physical capital.

What can we do to spur jobs growth?

  • Policymakers should encourage and support entrepreneurship among younger adults and remove the regulatory inhibitors to make capital readily available.
  • To increase credit, the Fed should encourage banks to lend more of its deposits to productive businesses rather than the fact that banks deposit money with the Fed.
  • To accelerate productivity growth from IT-led investment, companies should encourage the use of standards and best practices that reduce complexity. Incremental investments rather than just ‘big bang’ projects would deliver more consistent gains.

As the job recovery continues, the alleged evidence of technological unemployment among middle-income earners is disappearing and therefore automation is not the main reason after all.

 

Quote for the Day: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.” — Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect

2nd Quote for the Day: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde

 

Another View on “Will Robots Eliminate Jobs?”

The name ‘robot’ came from a play written by Czech writer, Karel Capel. ‘Robot’ was used to “denote fictional automata.” According to Wikipedia, “The play begins in a factory that uses a chemical substitute for protoplasm to manufacture living, simplified people called robots. The play does not focus in detail on the technology behind the creation of these living creatures, but in their appearance they prefigure modern ideas of androids, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. These mass-produced workers are depicted as efficient but emotionless, incapable of original thinking and indifferent to self-preservation.”

In 1954 George Devol invented the “first digitally operated and programmable robot” — he named it Unimate. Looking back on this event, it can be seen that this robot ended up becoming the underpinning of the modern robotics industry.

Devol sold Unimate to General Motors and in 1961 it was installed in a automotive manufacturing plant in Trenton, NJ. Its main function was to lift and stack, i.e., to lift hot metal pieces from a die cast machine and stack them for later use. As can be seen by this operation, robots have been used for one of three types of  jobs:

  • Performing a job with more accuracy and reliability than humans,
  • Dangerous jobs or extreme environments (like the above),
  • Jobs that are dull and boring.

Educational robots are used to teach how various STEM disciplines work together and do not necessarily encounter resistance from parents, educators, or students. However, there are heated discussions about jobs replacing workers. Since I receive articles from various sources regarding robots – both educational and industrial – I thought I would share a link to an article that asks the question, “But Will Robots Eliminate Jobs?” After reading this short paragraph, you can make up your own mind.

http://cross-automation.com/blog/use-robotbut-why

Quote of the Day: ““If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Three studies say robots will take other people’s job, not their own

Three studies from well-known companies have been released regarding robots. These three studies seem to indicate that American people believe that robots will replace jobs, “but mine is safe.” The first survey was released by Pew Research Center said that 65 percent of people think that computers and robots will do most of the work currently done by humans over the next 50 years. The most interesting aspect is that 80 percent of these same people believe their job is totally safe.

The second study by NPR mentioned the jobs that most probably would be replaced by robots, On top of the list were people who work in customer care centers aka call centers. These positions were deemed to be first of all jobs that would be replaced, other jobs were tax-document preparers, loan officers, and, get a load of this – umpires and referees, vehicle drivers, and a surprising one that I have not read before – fashion models. This probably has to do with 3D printers and the ability for roboticists to create robot models that can walk the runway.

This past May, PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC), said that drones have the high probability to replace $129 billion worth of human labor! These would be jobs related to agriculture, security, and transport. It’s pretty fascinating that people on the ground can get a bird’s eye view of corn fields, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, oil fields, transportation facilities and even major road projects major projects – all due to drones.

Where does all this lead us? The author surmises that the U.S. will have to consider an idea called “basic income” in which people will receive a monthly check on top of their existing income. The economist’s think tanks believe that people will provide less value with their labor and will need to have income coming from another area. I am not in this camp. This is pure and simple ‘redistribution of wealth’ which makes a society soft and complacent.

Unfortunately, the attitude of some people today is entitlement and those men and women that have taken risks to build businesses that employ people are the target of the ‘have-nots.’ Those people love to talk abut taxing the rich to support their ‘survivalist’ lifestyle. This is ludicrous. It all starts in the home at an early age where kids learn responsibility, respect, honesty, integrity, and the need to take care of people less fortunate. (The home needs to have parents that love their children and discipline them to raise them as solid citizens. There is much that needs to be done in this area that needs to be discussed, but it is not part of this website). However, there are plenty of jobs available that need the above qualities – the entitlement attitude prevents these people from becoming employees. There are now 11 states that now have more people on welfare than that are working: California, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Maine, and South Carolina. This is really sad. No wonder companies are looking to employ robots – robots arrive on time, they don’t take breaks, they work, they don’t complain, and they are accurate. When a robot needs to be reprogrammed or replaced, its master, the human technician is there to do so.

Healthcare and STEM careers seem to be the promise of the future. Consider these as you direct your children to their future careers.

 

Quote for the Day: “Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.” — Hugh Macleod