It is no secret that robots will be part of the future in our lives. From science fiction movies to the inception of robots as an actual fact that may soon be produced in mass numbers, robots have captured our imagination in the sci-fi arena like little else. Yet, with the coming of robots comes the possibility of replacing humans with them, especially at work. That is, perhaps, where it hits closest to home for most.
The prospect of having your job being taken over by a robot is a grim one. Not only does it seem to reduce your sense of existence as an individual, but it also means that, in practical terms, you are losing your source of income. It can be damaging to both your esteem and financial capability.
Freeing up time for creative expression or destroying livelihoods?
Yet we also need to look at both sides of the issues. There are always pros and cons that comes with each decision.
In this Channel News Asia article by Alice Chia, she mentioned several benefits of replacing humans with robots. As industrialization and better tools have enabled farmers to save an extraordinary amount of time, which for the first time allowed them to channel their efforts towards artistic and recreational pursuits – one of the major benefits of a robotic workforce would be to replace repetitive work.
This is definitely one of the biggest advantages of replacing certain human jobs with robots – the repetitiveness of what is traditionally defined as blue-collar work, something that is normally done in assembly lines and in CNC precision engineering and precision machining companies, has been one of the biggest factors contributing to worker alienation from their own work.
By eliminating the repetition, you can therefore lessen the alienation that workers feel from their own jobs; thereby increasing their sense of connection and thus making them feel better about themselves and their jobs. They can also concentrate on tasks that do require skills that robots cannot replicate, saving both time and money in the process.
That is not to say that robots are a do-all-end-all solution. As is aptly put forth in this article written by Vivek Wadhwa on the Singularity Hub, the erasure of jobs in almost every industry is a real concern for people who will see their livelihoods being taken away. Productivity may be raised – but what happens to the millions who will be displaced by robots and who will likely have few other skills with which to search for a job that actually requires skills they likely will not have? It is more than just a sobering thought – as Wadhwa points out, it may soon be reality.
Robots: From Classrooms, Doctors to Precision Machining Companies.
As Wadhwa also notes in his post, policy makers must define new policies with which to tackle this problem. We are not looking merely at one or a few industries, we are spanning the entire board of career opportunities (from classrooms, doctors to industrial automation design services) that may soon be closed to too many people. Technology advances at a rate with which we are unable to keep up with, primarily because we have never been equipped with the ability to do so. We just cannot keep up with such big change in so short a period of time.
However, all is not lost. Again, there are two sides to the same coin, and if we go about this carefully we might yet be able to find proper solutions to the problems that we have already foreseen. It is not a matter of whether or not we can keep up with the change now, but the very real aspect of how we go about dealing with it.
There will be jobs that are definitely more suitable for robotic work, but there are also jobs that will always require the human touch. And while robots are capable of performing repetitive and high-precision tasks of precision machining companies better it is also possible for governments and companies to train their workers to deal with the change, and acquire new skills that robots cannot emulate.
It all boils down to how we cope with the issues brought about by robotic change, but it is also important to remember that we must admit that there will be issues. The first step in going about solving a problem is to identify that there is a problem. Then and only then can we begin a discussion about it.