How industrial robots will shape the work to come
Industry 4.0 is one of the most discussed topic worldwide. All over the world, the race for innovation has become one on the main challenges that nations and companies have to face, working to create new policies able to take into account factors like Big Data, digitization and industrial robots.
According to many, the latter is about to revolutionize every piece of our lives, and is about to transform the world into something where everything is automated and interconnected, where everything is based on digital technologies, and where men and machines work together.
The age of the robot rush
Industrial robots fascinate as much as they worry, mainly due to the fear of a massive job loss. Nobody can really estimate the impact of robot automation and how this will affect global employment. Will humans be replaced in all their usual tasks? Will brand new jobs come out of this robot diffusion?
It’s no secret that robot sales increase exponentially in the last years, with Asia showing an enormous growth in terms of density. Nowadays, sectors like electronics or automotive build most of their working processes on automated systems, as evidenced by this Tesla Motors factory in Detroit where 160 robots work along with 3000 human employees, for instance. No wonder why it’s easy to see these technologies as a menace to global employment!
Shall we then be afraid of industrial robots?
Actually, there’s more to see under this threatening surface. History shows us how previous industrial revolutions reshaped the way we work and live.
If we take a closer look to the impacts of robotization, we notice that what is happening right now already happened 200 and 150 years ago, during the first two Industrial Revolutions. Although they are now considered as periods of unprecedented progress, their consequences were drastic for workers, as they witnessed they activity evolving towards something new.
That’s exactly what is happening today: we are moving into the unknown. And the unknown is scary.
What to expect from an automated coworker?
Some late trends in robotics present a more collaborative approach between human and robot coworkers – a trend that finds in Baxter and Sawyer its best manifestation. Industrial robots were traditionally perceived as replacements for humans, while collaborative robots stepped into the discussion showing a new way to interact with the machines, as they no longer work for humans but WITH them, making technology not only a tool to forge the world but a source of (still) unpredictable advancements.
It is still hard to predict which sectors (if not all) will rely on automated processes: right now, the range of possibilities is still wide open. In a few words, once the threat of a massive job loss is left behind, an astonishing world of opportunities is there to be explored, creating a workplace where human and robot could potentially cooperate, redefining traditional views of work and employment.
Check out TradeMachines infographic to learn more about it!