Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Robots Threaten Job Security

President-elect Donald Trump sees globalization as the main threat to job loss in the U.S. Much of our manufacturing has moved offshore. The attraction of low cost labor and lower taxes has encouraged American companies to move their manufacturing to places like China and Mexico.

Trump wants to reverse this trend principally by lowering corporate taxes and restricting imports. This may work for the short term, but there is a greater threat to job security that has already begun: the rise of automation spearheaded by robots.

The use of robotics to automate many industrial processes, services and transportation will reduce the need for human labor. Productivity rises as employment remains flat and ultimately declines. Companies are well motivated to see this trend grow; robots work tirelessly 24/7, are more efficient than humans, are not compensated and do not need fringe benefits.

Ronald L. Abate, Colchester
Note: This post appeared in the Hartford Courant on 11/25/16.
Otto, The New Driverless Truck

Here is another instance where technology replaces the need for human workers. Recently, a driverless truck, called Otto successively drove on the highways of Nevada. Robots and automation replacing human workers is a growing trend that will affect the entire employment spectrum. The impact will exceed that of the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Our government must prepare for this transition soon if it is to avoid a national, social upheaval. Employers will welcome this trend as robots are not compensated, can work 24/7, and receive no fringe benefits. The result: a huge gain in productivity and a likely decline in the cost of goods and services.