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How Robots Are Changing The Workplace

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As technology continues to progress and new remarkable machines are becoming more common in the workplaces across the world, there is an increasing concern that these robot-like devices will become ubiquitous in our daily lives. In recent years many research facilities have already made considerable progress in establishing and implementing robots in the workplace. However, the technological development that aims at creating intelligence machines and robotic technology is worrisome and it is widely considered to be a major problem. In fact, it is often argued that this rapid evolution of technology could potentially pose risk to human societies and the human workforce, leaving society unprepared for a transition. Several experts in robotics communities agree that advances in artificial intelligence hold hidden threats of technological unemployment since robot devices are becoming more integrated into our everyday environment. Due to this, it is questionable whether the advances in robotics technology will threaten the human workforce in the upcoming years. There can be no denying that these emerging robotic technologies have brought significant changes to society in recent years. However, questions relating to how robots could potentially reinforce social inequality has been a matter of considerable debate recently.

According to analysts from investment bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch, humankind will face a rise of ‘’thinking machines’’ that could exacerbate inequality which will transform the global economy over the next 20 years. Prior research has suggested that 48% of Americans believe the advancement of artificial intelligence will have a detrimental impact on society as well. Meanwhile, 52% believed these emerging technologies will lead to new industries and jobs . According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute robots pose a significant threat to low-skilled and high-skilled workers. Throughout history, the concept of intelligent machines has prompted human fears, since they may pose major ethical and social issues. Public attention towards social issues has recently become even more evident. The most worrisome problem for many is that manual labour will be superseded by technology and the widespread autonomation will cause social upheaval. Manual labour is a topic that generated much contentious debate in recent years. The focus of the debate is the risk of mass unemployment due to AI and autonomous robots. There are many concerns that this technological development will lead to increased unemployment. The assumption that robots in the workplace might cause widespread unemployment has flared up recently because of technological achievements in the workplace. The growing ability of autonomous robots to work safely could reshape our society and economy. However, as these new technologies hold immense problems such as income inequality, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute in 2013 showed that advances in AI and robotic could actually help companies reduce labour costs. This optimistic view of the economic potential of AI has the potential to transform the labour market and might help new industries at lower costs. One of the many disadvantages associated with the future emergence of autonomous machines in human workplaces is social issues that may arise as a result of the continuous progress of intelligent machines and implementing autonomous machines in the market. One day people will be capable enough to develop complex algorithmic systems performing cognitive human tasks. These advances could lead to negative threats such as economic disruption, which will inevitably cause social instability. The future driven by robots in the workplace could, therefore, lead to a collapsing job market which will disrupt economic development in the world and revolutionize the world’s economy and cause a dramatic shift in the human society. Technological anxiety and fears of mass unemployment have led to a debate about the effects that these new technologies will have on inequality. However, there is significant uncertainty surrounding the effect of automation technologies in the workplace over the next few decades. Despite the uncertainty, the report’s lead author, Beijia Ma believes that these new technologies in society can be beneficial as they may lead to an acceleration in productivity growth and produce great opportunities. Beijia Ma claims that we should turn to education as a way to understand the robotics revolution by stating ‘’It’s not meant to be a doom and gloom report: one of the ways we think people could help themselves is through education. ’’ She furthermore stated that robot-like devices may not be a real threat to mankind. However, this technology implementation has recently become a safety concern to many and a subject of increased public interest. The reason is the potential for an artificial intelligence system to cause economic polarisation in society. Nevertheless, the potential risks should not be dismissed. As previously discussed, autonomous technologies could increase productivity growth, but these technologies could also be a major force of job disruption and change market trading worldwide. The reporter Rory Cellan-Jones of the video ‘’Could a robot do your job?’’ published on the BBC News in 2015 shows the risk of jobs being automated in the next few decades . A job like market street trader is at high risk of being automated. AI will change market trading and many low-skilled workers are at risk of being replaced by fully autonomous robots.

According to Richard Susskind, the author of the book ‘’The Future of the Professions,’’ the digital technology and machines will completely replace human workers . Many argue nowadays for the possible loss of human interactions due to rapid technological progress. The author Richard Susskind supports the view that robots are highly effective and beneficial in the workplace. One of the advantages associated with AI in the workplace is that robots have the potential to improve productivity and workplace quality as they are less prone to error than humans . According to Susskind, we should embrace this future as it will allow us to spread expertise. Robots are already put in many workplaces, such as the Fulfilment Center in Tracy California, where more than 3000 robots help employees fill millions of orders .

Taking everything into consideration, it appears that the upcoming era of robotics has the potential to bring tremendous changes in society and to the world’s market. The widespread workplace automation might impact not only markets and inequality but also lead to societal change and possibly social disruption and economic instability. These are one of the many possibilities that can cause a dramatic change in human society. Therefore, it is important to understand that these machines bear a challenge to humanity and influence each of us as individuals. Companies should consider the possible negative outcomes and raise awareness about the dangers of technological unemployment. However, our common future lies in our hands. Autonomy in the workplace is going to be either a detriment or an invaluable benefit for society.



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