Are Robots Going To Take My Job?

 

It’s natural to be a little wary when big changes happen. We all know the story of Ned Ludd and his Luddite textile workers who smashed the machines that they blamed for taking their jobs in the 19th century.  In reality, rather than remove opportunities, advances in technology, like our increasing use of robotics, will actually foster more growth than it takes away. 

Luddites Might Not Be What You Think

Some of the actual events from the Luddite movement have been misconstrued. For example, one of the machines that Luddites targeted for destruction was the stocking frame, a device invented hundreds of years before and, at that time, fomenting fears that it would put hand-knitters out of business. 

The reality is that those machines led to immense growth in the textile industry, freeing the stitching of garments from the skilled knowledge of a few and allowing far more people to join the workforce. The Luddites were angry about threats to their jobs that, in fact, had very little to do with the technology used. In fact, most of those Luddites were highly skilled users of the very machines they are long remembered to have blamed. 

Advances in Technology Make Jobs

Just as the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s created unprecedented opportunities to lift millions out of poverty, the influx of new collar careers gives people of all backgrounds brand new opportunities for jobs in a wide variety of industries. Robots don’t eliminate jobs, they create careers. 

We don’t need to dig deeply into our history to see examples of technology creating new jobs. The creation of the printing press might have eliminated jobs, but the opportunities that emerged around publishing, from the operation of the printing press to driving the trucks that carry the printed materials, more than make up for what was lost. That doesn’t even include the democratization of the ability to create, distribute, and read the written word.

One study from 2011 found that the deployment of 1 million robots created 3 million jobs. Of the six countries covered by the study, five saw unemployment go down as the number of robots increased. According to the World Economic Forum, robots will account for far more jobs than they displace. These are better jobs, too, requiring skill and training that lead to higher salaries and better workplaces. 

The news about robotics and employment is good and gets better all the time. Keep an eye on www.roboticscareer.org for all the latest news.

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