Will Industrial Automation Truly Take Our Jobs?

Recently there was a programmer from San Francisco who had managed to automate his work. For six years he didn’t lift a finger to his workplace. Thankfully, he didn’t have any friends who would check up on him – just some developers who would occasionally ask him about the software he was testing. Automation helped him play League of Legends by skipping work.

Even though it sounds fun, there is an underlying horror at this instance. This means that this guy was able to create software that would put him out of work. Eventually, the man did lose his job when his officials found out what he had done. What’s worse is – he forgot how to code in these six years and has now become completely skill-less to find another job.

The implications of industrial automation are threatening to the workplace. To this day politicians and campaigners have been focusing on how the immigrants are eating up jobs. But we are neglecting the one issue that we face immediate implications from – automation.

The Automation Paradox

A 2013 study by Oxford University academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne suggests that automation will replace a lot of white collar and blue collar jobs. This has drawn the attention of several governments around the world. Further, a recent report from the United Nations stated that there is a high chance that industrial automation would disrupt the labor market. But this report was more detailed – indicating that most of the disruption will occur in the routine tasks. This is why it will affect the developing, rather than the developed, countries.

Despite this announcement, it is pretty clear that such announcements and predictions had been made in the past. When automation solutions were coming in the country, many people were afraid they would lose their jobs. Even many did lose their jobs, but eventually, a different sector developed that needed a different skill set.

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The US Labor Department predicted that some fields will exist in future appointing 65% of the school children. These kids will have to gain skills in specific areas that give them the opportunity to get those jobs. But in the meantime, those adults who do not have the necessary skills to adapt to the changing nature of employment will lose their jobs.

Technological breakthroughs endanger 47% of US jobs

In short, automation system will create jobs only after it makes some people lose jobs at first. A report from the Chief Scientific Advisor to Britain suggested that there are possible benefits of appointing AIs in areas such as tax collection. There are also questions of morality that will judge the future of the jobs.

Alison Sander, the director of the Centre for Sensing and Mining the Future at the Boston Consulting Group, says, “There’s a significant shift happening in the skill sets people to need. But that’s not a focus of our education system.”

The worst fear is that many of the skills taught today are no longer or will no longer be relevant down the years. The future of youths can only be determined if they are being given proper technical education. A thorough revision of the current education system is the only way to ride this tide.

The Future of Industrial Automation Video - GE Intelligent Platforms

Industrial Automation Book

Industrial Automation and Robotics

Industrial Automation and Robotics

Laxmi Publications. 2017

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