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Implications of Automation

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

What will our future look like?

The rising technology of automation and robotics is replacing human labor and employment; this is a common assumption believed by many people across the world. This can be considered a reasonable guess as it is true that with the increasing usage of advanced technology in workplaces, business owners do not need to hire as many human workers as before. Machines are generally a much better source of labor than humans in many various aspects. They are error-free, efficient, and often require significantly fewer costs to operate. They also never tire out, so there is no decrease in productivity either. All these factors are more appealing and beneficial to a considerable degree for the producers; there are no reasons to use a human staff who takes 10 minutes to take orders and makes at least one error per 5 minutes over a kiosk machine that takes less than one minute to complete the same task error-free. Thus, it is true that we see fewer human workers active in workplaces as more advanced technology is introduced. However, does that mean machines are eradicating our jobs?

Machines and automation create more new jobs than they eliminate. New workers who can create, transport, fix, or install the machinery appropriately are required when a new technology is introduced. For instance, automation machines such as self-serving kiosk machines require regular maintenance check-ups to ensure that they’re always functional and are in good stead to provide satisfactory customer service. These new jobs are referred to as the ‘jobs of the future.’ New technology may replace order-taking jobs in fast food restaurants, but new jobs are needed to manage them. Then does this mean that everyone is all good to just sit back and relax while automation slowly takes over the world? Well, sadly that is not the case for everyone.

Automation replacing human labor can affect individuals differently. For producers, it can be beneficial as it can significantly boost their profits and efficiency by increasing productivity, minimizing errors, increasing accessibility of goods and services, and decreasing the costs of production. For higher skilled workers such as game or software developers, it may have less or no impact at all as their tasks are less replaceable by machinery. It may provide cooperative assistance by taking some minor, time-consuming tasks off their shoulders such as data organizing and refining, boosting their efficiency. However, for many in certain areas of labor, especially those that require less advanced skills and are more replaceable such as cleaning or for instance, taking orders, the loss of jobs may be permanent. This is because although statistically more new jobs are created than lost, the new jobs often require higher skills than the jobs that were lost. For example, fixing the kiosk machines may require some degree of knowledge about engineering, programming, etc. Therefore, while automation may mean a fortune to some, it may mean devastation to others.

So what will the future look like? What jobs should young people pursue? No one can be 100% certain with the rapidly developing technology taking turns in all directions, but it is undoubtedly true that the demand for higher skills is only increasing with the increasing usage of technology. However, as common as the saying goes, find what you are passionate about. In fact, many people view this movement as an opportunity to pioneer completely new career pathways; change doesn’t mean the end, it can be the start!

Thank you for reading :)


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