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Over the last decades, technological advancements have greatly impacted on Americans day to day way of life. The influence and impact of these advancements in political, economic and social ways of modern life cannot be underestimated. For instance, innovations in computer technology and automation in engineering is a major factor that has led to these changes. The use of the internet and adoption of robots in modern day America and the world at large has brought to attention the issues that were not of concern in the past. This essay seeks to deeply criticize the effects of internet revolution and rise of robotics in America and how this has come to be, assessing their impact and consequences on the quality of life and general states growth; both positive and negative now and in the future as well as the best course of life to be adopted basing an argument on advancement of robotics technology and evolution of the internet.
To start with, internet is of course an emancipating technology as it has made the world to be like one big village. No matter who you are or where you live, internet has made it possible for your views to be seen and heard all over the world in just a matter of seconds. The use of emails and online social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter has revolutionised ways of communication and interaction in the modern society. It is evident that this revolution has forced modern day businesses to embrace use of internet and social media in order to stay competitive and relevant in the market. Companies are able to reach out to millions of potential clients through the internet with just one click, thus it has become one of the most efficient and cost effective marketing methods. This serves as an advantage as it has greatly reduced marketing expenditure of these companies.
Although this revolution has impacted various aspects of the modern world, we tend to assume that everyone has the connection to internet. It is true that many people have been left behind by this revolution because of a number of factors. With many researches having been made, remoteness and poverty are major factors that hinder people from getting online. More so, being from politically marginalized groups, ethnic or religious minorities that are not involved in their country’s political processes can be a reason for poor internet access. This is because it is the responsibility of the government to build and maintain infrastructure that connects citizens to the internet. In fact, the decision to extend and maintain such infrastructure lies with those who are in power.
A study done by Nils Weidmann, a political scientist at the University of Konstaz in Germany in collaboration with computer scientists from the science and technology university ETH Zurich in Switzerland found out that politically left out groups had 30 percent less connectivity compared with others in the same country. Other factors that the team found out to be key determinants of internet connectivity included urbanization, distance to the capital, terrain ruggedness and general infrastructure development. In the modern world, internet connectivity is very crucial for political empowerment. It is evident that people’s access to information on the internet can greatly influence the politics of a country. The internet, as a source of information, has the power to influence the outcome of elections or the frequency of political riots in a country.
The use of computers and the internet has come hand in hand with increased automation and use of robots especially in manufacturing industry. Over the decades, robots have evolved from big machines to smaller, more advanced, quicker and more affordable machines. More small and medium sized enterprises are introducing automation on their shop floors. According to a research done by Boston Consulting Group, automation is forecasted to cut labor costs by at least 18 percent and raise productivity by 30 percent in the coming decade.
The research indicated that by the year 2025, the transportation sector, electrical fields, computer and machinery sectors are forecasted to employ approximately 75 percent of robots. Already, many states are passing laws allowing driverless cars. This means that in near future, there will no longer be the need for drivers. Businesses such as Amazon, an online market place giant is reportedly developing drones which it will be using to deliver products to customers door step. Although this development will get rid of the cost and tiresome process of delivering products, it will also take away business from the current logistics providers. As a result there will be loss of business as well as loss of jobs. The military has also not been left behind in embracing this robotic revolution. For example, the U.S. military has surgical robots which they use to treat soldiers in remote regions. They are also researching robots which will be used in search and rescue operations.
From an economic point of view, the use of robots over human labor makes sense. According to The Boston Consulting Group’s research, the price and performance of robots is better than, or almost equivalent to manual labor costs in the U.S. electrical equipment and auto industries. Besides saving on labor costs, automation has also increased production, expanded and improved the quality of products.
Contrary to the many benefits that automation has presented, there is a big concern that robotic innovation will relegate many American workers who are already crumpling with moribund wages and low employment levels. According to a study done by University of Oxford in 2013, about 47 percent of employees in the U.S. are at a risk of being replaced by computerized technology. While higher remuneration to employees may lead to more automation, more robots translates to lost jobs. There is also a disturbing notion that robots will not only threaten jobs but also make it harder for lower skilled workers to remain employed. Despite the robotic advances and its consequences, I tend to agree with Bernstein that robots have not sealed our fate as much as people think they have. This is because some tasks still need careful decision making and a human touch that cannot be duplicated by machines.
As we can see, our recent rate of innovations especially in the use of the internet and robots has its advantages and challenges. For us to be able to sustain these advancements, proper measures and considerations need to be taken into account when formulating policies that control these aspects. Like in the case of internet revolution, social media platforms have proved difficult to regulate, thus may have a negative impact in modern society. People can use these platforms to spread political propaganda which at times may lead to political riots, creating animosity among different political factions or people of different ethnicity.
The case of robots and automation is a much delicate topic because despite its numerous advantages, artificial intelligence poses a threat to the coexistence of humans. Careful policies should be formulated regarding the extent at which we can adopt robots and the extent of their capabilities. For example, a military robot designed to treat soldiers can be programmed to kill them too. The rise of automation and robotics is one of the major factors that has led to the wide gap between employment and productivity. As a matter of fact, the U.S. employment levels have been declining while productivity has kept on rising due to automation.
These technological changes have brought about inequality among workers leading to a decline in labor force participation. This means that many Americans are disappearing from the workforce as they are discouraged to seek for jobs. As a result, the middle class is stagnated thus dragging down the U.S. economy. While it is evident that America is having problems making progress, there is still a big debate among robotics experts and economists on the effects automation will have on the lower skilled workers.
In conclusion, it is evident that these technological innovations and advancements have greatly impacted our daily lives. However, it is good to note that everything that comes with advantages has their disadvantages too. As we have discussed earlier, careful assessments need to be taken into account when making such crucial decisions such as whether or not we should embrace these innovations.
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