Robots Won’t Take Our Jobs, But Improve Them
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In what is being called the “second machine age,” by MIT researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, the fear and speculation of complete job automatization is a misguided principle that should put “more emphasis on the way technology leads to structural changes in the economy and […] that the central phenomenon is not net job loss. It’s the shift in the kinds of jobs that available.”  Robot jobs, or the increasingly popular technical jargon “botsourcing,” have becoming a popular option to outsourcing on a global economy scale and are often the blame for the large dip in numbers jobs in the U.S. With new technology like the autonomous strawberry picker, self driving cars, and package delivery drones it is understandable to succumb to the likely idea that all jobs could be replaced by robots within the next ten years. However, this is a completely misguided principle that is driven by online publications fear mongering within their articles to generate more traffic online. What uninformed readers don’t understand is that atomization has been the first real threat to India’s $118 billion information technology industry, a massive producer of new jobs in America, and has yet to become a proven reason for the dip in manufacturing jobs within the U.S.. Empirical research and economic theories have been calculated and tested in order back the foundational principle that robots aren’t the cause for the loss of jobs in the U.S. but rather the catalyst in job creation and human innovation.
Looking at World Bank data, India has been in a stalwart in creating new jobs recently as their working-age population increased by 300 million from 1991 and 2013 but only 140 million have been employed. In a recently published BBC article, “Indian textiles giant Raymond said it would replace 10,000 jobs with robots over the next three years.”  With India’s infrastructure built primarily around technology, India has been able one of the primary offshoring countries for the U.S. as their citizens are highly technical and are English speakers. With the new trend in tech making more routine jobs susceptible to complete automation, major companies are completing the same work domestically with a machine – for less. Now, instead of weighing the decision to balance the savings from paying foreign countries lower wages against the extra costs of capital and trade, producers now have the option to manufacture entirely domestically. In specific, the U.S. can now produce less skill-intensive activities internally, pushing an upward shift on the demand for non-production and skilled labor all while still raising the relative wage for non-production workers up within the U.S. Automation using robotics is helping this attitude shift by allowing domestic companies to remain cost-competitive while keeping their manufacturing operations in the U.S.
These ideas are exemplified by other American companies who are embracing robotization and are creating jobs around the changing fields of work. In fact, the International Federation of Robots completed a study that in 2011, “one million industrial robots created nearly three million jobs.”  These trends toward botsourcing are shifting the paradigm of operations in order to best utilize the combination of human and robotic expertise within the United States of America rather than completely eliminate jobs. Tesla, with one of the most robotic manufacturing facilities in the world, builds all of its electric cars in the U.S. and employs 85 percent of its total employees domestically. Amazon has deployed 45,000 robots in 20 fulfillment centers since 2012 while still managing to add 110,600 employees from 2015-2016. Even small businesses like Surface Encounters in Macomb, MI are seeing improvements as the CEO Chuck Russo believes “robots have allowed the company to offer much more competitive pricing, all while growing the business, opening additional stores, and hiring more people.” 
In the recent shift from outsourcing manufacturing, many pundits have argued that the addition of more robotic job automation the more manufacturing jobs would be lost. This correlation has recently been the scapegoat for the loss of these jobs regardless of the fact that there is no shortage of alternative explanations including globalization, offshoring, and skill gaps to name a few. However, if robots were a substitute for human workers than countries with higher investment rates in automation technology should have greater employment loss in their manufacturing industry, right? Not necessarily. In the report by Georg Graetz and Guy Michaels the researchers found “that the number of industrial robots per 1 million hours worked in Germany grew over 3 times,”  it’s own usage in 1993 and is still currently operating at 3 times the capacity of the U.S. due to the auto industry. Despite the installation of far more robots, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States during that same time span. Korea, France, and Italy also lost fewer manufacturing jobs than the United States despite the fact they have a higher usage of industrial robots. The narrative that robots are the causal factor in the decline of America’s manufacturing employment is factually wrong and misses a broader point. Robots have become increasingly essential to the competitiveness of a country’s manufacturing sector and don’t prove to be the cause in the substantial loss in blue-collar jobs.
Robotization is a disruptive technology and will hurt some workers but ultimately benefit many more. It has become a job creator in our economy and is providing businesses with increased productivity and solutions to eliminate offshoring and create U.S. jobs. The idea of robotization requires a shift in the thought on how to use technology rather than to resist it. Companies can now create better, safer, and higher paying jobs for American workers. This also makes companies more price competitive and allows them to add on more employees and expand their business to levels they couldn’t reach before automation. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics data,” U.S. companies added 136,748 robots to factory floors over the past seven years, while creating 894,000 new manufacturing jobs.”  Robotics are the trend of the future shouldn’t be the means to end of employment in the manufacturing industry within the U.S. nor the blame either.