Introduction of Robots and Job Loss
Introduction of Robots and Job Loss
  • 김동복 기자
  • 승인 2021.12.20 13:24
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KT Reporter

Recently, robotics has developed rapidly and is creating many issues. The existing robots were limited to industrial use. However, nowadays, research and development of robots are actively underway not only in industries but also in new applications such as medical care, disasters, and housework. Although the development and expansion of robotic technologies may improve the quality of people’s lives, they would be a double-edged sword. Kyungnam Times ● 31 The purpose of using robots in the industry is to maximize efficiency. Here, efficiency refers to obtaining high results with less resources. Robots make fewer mistakes than humans and do not need rest from working for a long time. Only one robot can replace the work that requires many humans. As robot technology becomes more innovated, jobs related to the industrial field are bound to decrease. In addition, as the use of robotic technology increases, human employment will significantly decrease. Of course, all of this depends on the job in which different skills are required. However, it also means that some jobs may simply be replaced. In particular, the more typical and repetitive jobs there are, the more likely they are to be replaced. In addition, have you heard of Big-Data and AI (Artificial Intelligence), recently? If it is hard for you to imagine, think of AlphaGo or Deep Blue. You may think that simply playing baduk, which is a Chinese abstract strategy board game, or chess is not directly related to job loss. Though, the core of these AI technology is not baduk or chess, but their ability to learn something. Now, it is possible for robots to learn about new things and apply them to new routines. Robots are no longer silly machines that only repeat the same tasks. They can participate in lots of job fields that have been considered as only humans can do; such as recommending products, managing resources, and researching preferences. Some say that there will be no problem of reducing jobs for humans as the size of the pie (We have a lot of pie such as economic pie, income pie, budget pie, etc.) itself increases due to advances in technology. Nevertheless, even in the growing pie, the proportion of the pie for robots is also growing. Therefore, robots are certainly a threat to humans, and this trend will continue in the future. 32 Argument & Fact Recently, there is increasing anxiety about losing jobs caused by the development of robotics. It seems rational to worry about it because it is really happening. You may find many examples where employees are substituted by robots. One of the most shocking changes happens in the construction labor market, which has long been considered as an exclusively human domain. According to the research conducted by Tractica, a market intelligence firm based in London, the market size of construction robots will rapidly aggrandize and eventually increase from 22.7 million to 226 million dollars by 2025. This phenomenon is warning every industry. Since construction labor was considered one of the hardest things for robots to perform, it is reasonable to think that many domains that traditionally considered as humans’ might be no longer as they were. However, it is still early, and to some degree, it is meaningless to worry about the unemployment problems. There are two reasons. We still do not know what changes are to happen exactly in the future. We are on the starting line of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where everything is ambiguous. Many laborers in 19th century England saw the same distorted future and committed violence, condemning the machines. These actions were caused by the Kyungnam Times ● 33 Luddite Movement. Within the movement, many angry physical workers destroyed machines and burned industrialized factories because there was a rapid increase in unemployment which was leading to depression in the economy. This situation is very similar to that of the present. Though, for the next few centuries, the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century proved that it was not a disaster for the human race but a blessing in disguise; resulting in an increased quality of life, human development, and gross domestic product (GDP). More importantly, there are many feasible remedies that can be implemented by the government to mitigate the unemployment problem. One of them is universal basic income (UBI). UBI is a kind of pension that is subsidized by the government, giving every citizen basic income. How is it possible? You may say it is an outrageous idea coined by a populistic politician. However, it is not like that. Once companies fire their employees and replace them with robots, they do not have to spend their money in the name of wages anymore, which will lead to a phenomenal increase in the net profit and productivity of corporations. The greatly increased profitability and productivity of companies will be extended to the tax income of the government, which makes it possible for the government to subsidize its citizens. No one on earth can predict the future. Either a bright future or a dystopian(nonutopian) society is possible, but we are not certain which one will become ours. Since fear comes from ignorance, it is natural to worry. However, do not worry too much. First, contrary to your anxiety, your future can be the good one. Second, there are already feasible ideas, like UBI (universal basic income), that help with unemployment in the future. Do not worry. It will be fine.

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