Technology is moving fast and robotics is growing rapidly. The idea of a future where machines do most of the work that humans once did is starting to come true.
More and more white-collar work is being done by artificial intelligence (AI) programs; blue-collar work is also increasingly being done by various robotic systems.
From recycling to agriculture, bottling, packaging, and sorting, robots are efficient. They don’t need breaks and they work extremely quickly.
US corporations are recognizing this and responding, shelling out over $2 billion last year to buy more than 40,000 robots to work during the pandemic.
If you look closely, it’s clear the American worker is being replaced.
It’s Not Just Cars Anymore
Robots have replaced many workers in car and truck factories, but they’re now expanding well beyond that. Companies that sort, ship, grow, recycle, gather and package food or other products are employing robots by the hundreds.
Last year’s purchase orders for robots and robot systems were up almost 30% from 2020.
While films like I Robot and Minority Report have pictured what a future run by robots might look like, we no longer have to imagine. That future is here.
So far, the main feature of that future is the disappearance of high-paying manual labor jobs and humans having to compete with ultra-fast machine systems.
As the head of DCL Logistic Company said, robots have replaced half his workers and do 200% more than his human employees.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk is working on building a humanoid type of robot at Tesla which he says would crank up economic output and change the world of work.
Elon Musk has high hopes for humanoid robots in the future claiming that "the robot could remake the economy and add trillions in value". What do you all think about this pursuit by Tesla? #BCSTT https://t.co/O4mnvVPu35
— Julian Bergerson (@J_Bergerson_) January 30, 2022
Meet the ‘Cobots’
Many of the new robots being brought on now are different from those in the past. Whereas robots used to be brought in to replace entire assembly lines, certain high-skilled and specific jobs are bringing on robots to work together with humans.
These “cobots” speed everything up and help companies operate at extremely high efficiency. Then, there are areas like construction, where robots work to do the labor-intensive tasks that take a long time for contractors.
Things like putting up drywall are now streamlined by robots. With Tesla and Musk’s plan to release the Optimus humanoid robot next year, it’s clear the robot industry is only going to keep growing.
However, where does that leave the worker?
Face-to-face interaction with humans will be more valuable with the development of humanoid robots. No this will not "destroy the economy," just make those selling their human services richer as relative scarcity of face-to-face interaction will increase https://t.co/Q9m3a6Ewrj
— Rabee Tourky (@RabeeTourky) January 27, 2022
The Robotic Future
Musk’s new Optimus humanoid robot would do things like shipping and packaging, and could eventually move on to more complex work.
With almost 11 million jobs open at the end of last year, the pandemic has created a huge opportunity for robots and a justification for them.
Many people dependent on the government would rather get paid for watching TV than work. They will now be replaced by machines.