As exciting as the advancement of cybernetics and robotics might look, it also poses a challenge to the way of life we have grown accustomed to throughout centuries. Perhaps since the beginning of time, there was a job to do and a man or woman who performed it. The results of this work, food, goods, money, belonged to human beings rightfully. Work has always been both a way to make a living, and a way of self-realization, fulfillment of one’s calling, and a duty. It is also true that it has always been time-consuming, occupying the time one could probably spend with families, or on hobbies and other activities. The latter has caused scientists and inventors to think whether work could be performed on its own, without the participation of people. In the 21st century, automation and robotic engineering have become the answer to this search; supposedly, almost any manned job can be performed by a machine. Unfortunately, along with the new industrial revolution, the increase of work efficiency, and other benefits, automation will also most likely cause several critical issues to emerge; mass unemployment probably being the major one.
Technology should be credited for saving businesses time and money. Human workers are slow and cost companies large amounts of money to employ them to do repetitive tasks. Machines are being created to do these mundane and repetitive tasks but much faster and more efficient than people. Automation in the workplace is a serious problem for blue collar workers. Bernard Marr, a writer for Forbes, estimates the number of jobs that are at risk. He states,”Between 35 and 50 percent of jobs that exist today are at risk of being lost automation.” Machines are being made to replace human workers. The manufacturing industry is the first place to see automation eliminating human jobs. Robots and AI are becoming more affordable so companies have started replacing their human workers with them to cut costs and increase productivity to stay more competitive.
With the increase of automation in the workplace, The rise of unemployment rises with it. Lawrence H. Summers, the former Treasury secretary, said that he no longer believed that automation would always create new jobs. Technological advances have eliminated many of the jobs in which high school graduates could higher incomes. A poll found that 85 percent of prime-age men without jobs do not have bachelor’s degrees. Since there are fewer people working the economy suffers as a whole. Alan B. Krueger, a professor at Princeton, states that,” They’re not working because it’s not paying them enough to work.” There are plenty of jobs but they are jobs people are willing to do. Sure the Mcdonalds is hiring but how many 50 year olds want to be working for $10 an hour when they have a wife and kids to take care of. The amount of work they would be doing wouldn’t be worth their time only because of the amount they are getting paid. They would prefer to stay unemployed and have the government send them a monthly check than be on public display there.
As it can be seen, the automation of jobs is not by default beneficial for modern society. It is true that it can increase the efficiency of work in a number of professional areas, but the cost is expected to be high; according to studies conducted in this direction, automation will leave countless competent specialists unemployed. This is expected to increase income inequality dramatically, and disrupt the existing social order; societies of technologically-advanced countries will have to adapt to new conditions, seeking to create innovative workplaces and occupations. So far, this looks more important and dramatic than the anticipated possibility to have more time for leisure and hobbies.