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Robot in Shopping Mall in Kyoto

Our robot future

Our robot future: MIT researchers found that in the US between 1990 to 2007, one robot replaced 3.3 employees in manufacturing on average 1. However, these numbers are disputed. Automation may in fact increase employment by: Increasing demand, by making products/services cheaper. Substituting existing jobs with other digital-skill-based jobs. What jobs do they replace? Studies show that low-wage occupations are particularly susceptible to automation-induced job loss 2. However, robots tend to only partially automate an occupation. Researchers at Boston University found that only one of the 270 occupations in the 1950 US Census has been eliminated due to automation: the elevator operator. Similarly, studies of US job advertisements from 1950-2000 showed a decline in routine cognitive and manual tasks – and an increase in demand for capabilities to perform non-routine analytical and interactive tasks. How smart are robots? Most robots are basic in their ability to collaborate or interact with humans – they use sensors and specialized processors to perform human-like functions, achieving some semblance of the human ability to see, talk, or move. Truly ‘intelligent’ robots – which use artificial intelligence (AI) to learn, reason, solve problems, perceive, and understand languages – are still some way off . Facts about industrial robots 2.4 million industrial robots worldwide (in 2018). 20% growth per annum since 2013. 422,000 industrial robots were shipped in 2018. China, Japan, and South Korea have the most industrial robots. Singapore, South Korea, and Germany have the highest robot density. SOURCE: IFR


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