Up to 20 million manufacturing jobs could be lost to robots by 2030, according to a new report by Oxford Economics. The study found that robots will lead to twice as many manufacturing job losses in low-skill areas, thereby aggravating income inequality. The report, "How Robots Change the World", estimates that each new industrial robot eliminates 1.6 manufacturing jobs on average, and calls on governments to prepare with policies including better training and welfare programs, and a universal basic income. It suggests that in Australia, South Australia is most vulnerable to the future robot rollout. The state is Australia's most manufacturing intensive but has the slowest-growing economy and low levels of manufacturing productivity, the report argued.
The report comes from McKinsey and it is part of an evolving research project on the influence of new technology on the economy, business, employment, and society. The research assesses changing skills and forms of employment, as measure against core workplace skills across key European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, plus the U.S. The aim is to trend shifts over time and detect new patterns of working and types of employment. The rise of automation and the economic and employment effects divide opinion. According to PwC analysis, artificial intelligence, robotics and other forms of smart automation can deliver great economic benefits, perhaps contributing up to $15 trillion to global GDP by 2030. Alternative arguments indicate that deskilling of work is likely, a loss of jobs and a rise in unemployment.
Automation has been responsible for improvements in manufacturing productivity for decades. Advanced robotics will accelerate this trend. Machines, after all, can perform many manufacturing tasks more efficiently, effectively and consistently than humans, leading to increased output, better quality and less waste. And machines don't require health insurance, coffee breaks, maternity leave or sleep. The industrial world realizes this and robot sales have been surging, increasing 29 percent in 2014 alone, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - A new poll shows that in several countries around the world, large majorities of people believe it is most likely that robots will be doing much of the work done by humans within 50 years. The effects of this technological leap are not viewed optimistically by most, however. Instead, people largely say they think humans will struggle to find meaningful work and inequality will rise, the research found. The poll was conducted earlier this year by the Pew Research Centre in Greece, Japan, Canada, Argentina, Poland, Brazil, South Africa, Italy and Hungary. Pew also compared the responses in those countries to a poll done in the United States in 2015 that asked about automation.