|Type of paper:||Research paper|
Explanation of the Issue
Automation in the workplace is a concept that employees can expect to see in most cases throughout the future. From the simple software and programs with the ability to automate a wide array of digital workflow to robots that can carry out the increasing number of the manual tasks, the automation or the Artificial Intelligence (AI) have continued to provide labor solutions in many industries. While it is evident that the robots and other forms of AI have been associated with numerous advantages and long-term benefits, there have been some concerns about their emergence, development and the role in providing labor solutions within the industries. In fact, the robot creation and other forms of artificial intelligence have proved to be a controversial issue regarding whether or not the technology was created for its intended purposes. Notably, the assessment of the mechanisms through which the workplace automation transforms the manner in which people conduct business highlights some detrimental impacts that may be generated through robots and other forms of artificial technologies entering the workforce. In fact, the loss of employment opportunities based on the widespread automation substantially promises to create a severe social impact. Research has further depicted that the driverless vehicles will potentially eliminate many job position within a half a decade. The continued technological advancements will propel the robots and other forms of technology to fill the expected increase in the labor demand. In fact, even the specialized fields and professions such as the medical diagnostics and surgical care may be negatively impacted as a result of the automation.
The Cause of the Controversy
The discovery, creation, and application of robots and other forms of artificial technology is a significant issue of concern in the current era. The cause of the controversy related to this issue was primarily caused by the benefits and the perceived roles that robots could play in filling the gap of the ever increasing demand of the workforce in the various types of industries.
Robots and other forms of technologies were thought to increase the productivity and competitiveness. In fact, when used efficiently, robots enable organizations to gain competitive advantages making some of the companies to lead their market niche. The efficiency is particularly vital for the small-scale business that has been termed as the backbone of both the developing and developed nations. Robots enhance faster production and delivery of goods and services. Recent research has further shown that the companies that embraced the use of robotic and other forms of technological advancements brought back to their domestic base parts of the supply chain that were previously outsourced to the cheap labor forces (Ford 23). A primary concern of the automation currently is not all about its direct effects on employment, but its inability to remain competitive as perceived earlier. While it is evident that the benefits of automation in increasing the efficiency of the production and delivery of goods and services cannot be overruled, not all cases that involve the use of robots have been able to generate such efficiency. Some of the companies have been unable to remain competitive. This is based on the fact that a company's competitive advantage cannot only achieve through the use of the modern or new technologies but are affected by other factors as well. The inability of robots and other forms of automation to play other functions such as strategic management has therefore been another source of concern and hence the controversy.
Automation plays a crucial role in contributing to an overall increase in the labor demand as well as the positive impacts on the wages (Ford 41). This is undeniably a benefit associated with the creation and the development of robots and other technological forms. Despite the fact that middle-income jobs have tremendously reduced as the part of the overall contribution to the employment and earnings-leading to fears of rising in the inequality, the skills range within the middle-income category is enormous. Notably, robots contribute to the rise in the demand for the employees with considerably higher skills with the positive effects of the wage. The proponents of the use of robots in the provision of the workforce argue that its use (robot) has enabled the middle-income earners in the lower income to improve their skills or get retained. While this fact cannot be rejected in any way, the negative impact that robots have had on the individuals or workers about this specific contexts is not considered or instead assumed. The workers in the lower-income skills levels are wiped out or eliminated with preference shown to those who possess the high level of skills, and knowledge. This kind of unemployment is the cause of the controversy associated with the application of automation in improving production and delivery processes of good and services within the industry (Ford 45). A major intriguing question, in this case, is that "If robots are perceived to improve the middle-income skills wage or salaries, why does unemployment occur at the lower level?"
Another cause of controversy about automation was caused by the proponent's belief that robots would complement and even augment the labor. This implies that both the robots and humans will work together in future. Ideally, the benefits of robots, in this case, cannot be omitted bearing the fact that they have played vital roles in complementing the labor. Various robotic manufacturers and developers have still believed that robots would substitute labor activities without the necessity to replace jobs. Recent studies have continued to demonstrate the ability of robots to complement and augment labor activities. However, the effects that such application has on the capacity to retain people in their jobs cannot be assumed. In fact, the 'unprecedented' negative impacts on employment have been another major cause of controversy. While the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has recently termed the introduction of the robotics tax as unwarranted based on the positive of impacts of the robotics on wages and employment, the impacts of such introduction is massive (Todd 50). Majority of companies that used robotics in various levels of production processes recorded a rise in the replacement processes of employees who did not meet the required skills and knowledge. The 'unexpected' effects of the application of automation, in this case, cannot be underestimated because it is evident. This is, therefore, a significant cause of controversy.
Effects of Robots on Employment Reduction
Ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution man has been doing most of the work in industries; making matchboxes and candles for close to 18 hours a day and never getting time to rest (Acemoglu and Pascual 23). The working conditions of workers have for a long time spurred concern from human rights groups and labor union enthusiasts, and for the longest time, possible employers have been criticized for overworking and underpaying workers. As such industrialists have been slowly automating processes for the longest time possible; all in a bid to ward off too much dependency on workers (Michaels and Georg Graetz 18). Today we are all aware of the fact that or for some reason have suspicions that robots are taking the jobs of human beings in factory production lines. More specifically it is worth mentioning that there is a ludicrous extent to which well-defined industrial robots are working hard to substitute human work hands and making wages to go down. Every additional robot within the world's largest economies brings employment down by about 5.6 employees, and each robot that is included in a production line per 1000 employees makes salaries and wages to go down by a figure of 0.25 to 0.5 percent.
Without any reasonable shadow of the doubt, robots are bringing about a lot of change on the labor market all over the world, and this is a pattern that is bound to be permanent (Acemoglu and Pascual 21). This manner of robotics could quickly be merged by one more key driver of technical job loss. Today one reality that ought to be accepted is that virtually no single job is safe. Today the human worker is in a lot of trouble because he or she is facing a lot of competition from industrial robots; mechanically controlled, multipurpose, and reprogrammable. The key players in the corporate and industrial world brought robots in the picture since autonomous machines only need repair from time to time: they do not demand high salary raises every month nor do they join labor unions that demand a whole lot of wants from employees. What's more, robots never ask to go on whatever kind of leave.
Since there are relatively a limited number of robots in comparison to humans workers all over the world in the global economy, the number of employment opportunities lost because of usage of robotics have been taking a dip and limited so far (Arntz, Gregory and Ulrich 2). All the same, if the number of robots within the global economy continues growing as has been projected in the next 20 years, the total effects of the spread of robots and robotics bat large will be much more visible. Today robots and robotics threaten every career out there, and every line of occupation and career at large be it banker that is competing with mobile banking or a car assembler that is made to feel a droid can exceptionally do every task he or she can do. So far only managerial positions can be said to be safe.
The intended use of Robots and other Forms of Automation
The industrial Robots were first introduced to the United States in the 1960s. Since this introduction, the technology has continued to improve substantially, accompanied by numerous advantages. The development of robotics has further increased the application and dominance of robots through major industries which range from the manufacturing to healthcare. On a broader note, robots were meant to enhance productivity, safety and in saving the time and money as these were the actual intended purposes.
Regarding productivity, robots were intended to improve the accuracy of the production processes through enhancing high-quality work (Michaels and Georg Graetz 18). This purpose has been achieved as a result based on the fact that robots rarely make mistakes and can demonstrate a high level of precision compared to the human beings. The use of industrial robots in manufacturing factories has improved the quantity of production by increasing the number of goods produced within a given period. In fact, robots can maintain and work at a constant speed for em extended period, and this cannot be achieved through the use of human beings. In one study, researchers found that robots were able to perform the applications with substantial repeatability compared to the human beings. In the healthcare, for example, the use of robots in surgery has helped improved accuracy and precision in the surgical operations thereby savings lives. In fact, the robots have demonstrated the ability to carry out minimally invasive surgery processes, and this implies that instead of operating on patients through the large incision, the doctors use the miniaturized surgical instruments that can fit through the quarter-inch incisions. "Da Vinci Si," the world's most advanced robot can carry considerably delicate surgery operations with more than 80 percent success rates. During such operations, the surgeons control various instruments to facilitate the surgery process.
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