Yes, I agree with your point -- as does the Association of Robotics. If the computer industry is any indication, job creation in robotics may be greater than we think. The computer industry -- according to gov. studies -- did not deliver net job reduction until the 1990s. The industry simply created more jobs (in dollars) than it eliminated. Of course, once the efficiencies kicked in, there was massive job reduction. Eight ga-zillion secretaries lost their jobs.
Interesting point about the displacement of jobs (as opposed to a simple net loss of jobs). It's clear that automation will continue to reduce the number of jobs in certain sectors of manufacturing. The following article concedes this, but offers the similar perspective that automation may also open doors to new jobs related to the building and maintenance of robots: http://blogs.ptc.com/2012/04/06/does-increased-automation-steal-manufacturing-jobs/
Good comments, Ervin. Robots eliminate jobs that are often repetitive and unpleasant. while the robot industry will not create as many jobs as it eliminates, the jobs it will create will tend to be technical jobs that are likely to be more creative than repetitive and thus more fulfilling.
1) Yes, robots decrease jobs where they are applied,
2) Price of end product generally goes down and supply increases
3) Demand increases due to lower price which in turn increases sales
4) Supporting jobs increase due to larger production quantities which in turn increase orders from said manufacturer.
So while robots decrease jobs in one industry they raise the demand of the population which in turn causes a chain event that brings us back to more jobs. Ideally everything will be extremely cheap and everything will be made by robots. We will all be software and hardware engineers and the world will be a better place... Well almost we would still have lawyers and politicians....
Robots for quality, not job elimination is an interesting point to note.
The manufacturing industry all over the world is forced to improve their production processes. Robots are being used to accomplish this. while robots are certainly trimming repetitive manufacturing jobs, the robotics industry continues to add jobs at an aggressive rate.
Again, good points Naperlou. The human brain is hard to beat. I can certainly understand that computers can beat us on memory and even on some deduction, but we have intuitive powers that are quite remarkable and they will not quickly be replaced. We've all read the articles that Steve Jobs and Einstein were smart, but they were not the smartest guys in the room. However, they both had intuition that can't be matched by smarts. Einstein himself said "You can't get to my equation by deduction."
Good point, Naperlou. I'm glad to see robots take some of these jobs. The repetitive-motion jobs are soul killers. I know, I did these jobs when I was young, There was a time when these jobs paid well. Those days are over. Let machines do these jobs. People will figure out alternatives for work. It's not that hard to get an education in this country.
A life of doing the same weld all day long for years -- with slight adjustments for model changes -- is not a fulfilling life. The pay may have made it worthwhile 40 years ago, but those coming into these jobs now are not getting the same deal.
Jennifer, that may yet come to pass. One thing to remember, though, is that robots are machines. They need to be built, monitored, calibrated, repaired and replaced. They do have a finite lifetime. This is mostly becuase those pesky human engineers keep coming up with something better. I have lived with the expectation that computers would take over jobs that required real thinking for decades. Well, it has not happened yet. I have actually designed systems that had some "intelligence" in them. Believe me, it is rudimentary.
Machines are just an extension of the human being. They are tools. As we develop tools and do research we keep altering the mix between the human and machine. I wouldn't be so pessimistic.
Alex, actually, the robot situation is exactly analogous to the computerization situation. In the end, a more efficient economy means that more products will be made with higher quality at lower cost. It does come with dislocation, but that is inevitable.
I am old enough to remember a cartoon that my father had. It said, you too could be replaced by a button, I still tell that to my sons, and they just look at me funny.
Andrew, that is quite heartening that your company has created 39 jobs from ABB's welding robot department. I wonder how that compares with other industrial robot uses aside from welding. Does anyone know?
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In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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