Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons
For those who work in manufacturing, Industry 4.0 is a big turning point. The current trend of automation and data exchange has brought and probably will bring many further changes to manufacturing.
Working with a robot might become an everyday situation for those employed in the industry. With the improvement of technology, more and more jobs can be fulfilled by artificial intelligence. Not only is it possible to exchange certain human employees, but it also pays off. Certain factory robots from Rethink Robotics cost for as little as $25,000, which would be like paying a full-time human worker $4 an hour over the life of the machine. Robots used in electronics manufacturing currently cost less that one-half the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Taking these statistics, no profit-oriented businessman would decide against implementing robots.
But who can tell which positions will be taken over by machines? Or how many? These questions concern many experts dealing with this phenomenon. Numerous articles were issued stating, that “robots will destroy our jobs”, underlining the severe consequences of automation. But is our situation really that catastrophic? Is society really facing such a great threat?
There is a more optimistic point of view as well. If you take a look at TradeMachines’s infographic here, you can see that further examination of the topic brings an enlightenment. Looking at it closely, it is clear that robots are not causing a massive job loss. Instead, they are reshaping the labor market. There is currently no proved relationship between a country’s decrease in employment level and the use of robots. According to PwC, US manufacturers see robotics as generating new high-skilled jobs.
Jobs that require a lower qualification and earn less will be more likely to be automated that others, but the process will also create new jobs, outnumbering the ones lost! Something similar happened 200 years ago when 70% of Americans lived on a farm and 99% of their jobs got automated. Looking back on it though, we see it as a great step forward in history. Maybe that’s the case with Industry 4.0 as well!