Fears of Robots Eliminating Jobs is Overblown, Says Machine Vision Manufacturer
WOBURN, MA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 -- Job insecurity has fueled a general unease among American workers, driven not by foreign competition but by advancing technology. According to pessimists, millions of jobs will disappear in coming years because of robots, driverless vehicles and Artificial Intelligence, sparking mass social unrest and upheaval.
These fears are greatly overblown, says Donal Waide, Director of Sales for BitFlow, a manufacturer of machine vision components used in robotics, automation systems and quality control.
"Technology has altered the employment prospects of Americans since the automobile closed down buggy whip makers," says Waide. "While technology will certainly eliminate some lower-skilled jobs, it will create new ones that are higher paying and more rewarding. For example, engineers will be needed to design automated machines and technicians to maintain and program them. Others will work side by side with robots in jobs that are not fully automatable."
For all the anxiety of robots replacing workers, Waide is quick to point out that half the nation's 233,300 industrial robots are in use in just 10 Midwestern and Southern states, primarily in the material handling and automotive industries, and that most of the jobs eliminated by these robots were dangerous, repetitive and physically demanding ones.
Another fact: the US automotive industry installed more than 60,000 industrial robots between 2010 and 2015. During this same period, the number of employees in the US automotive sector increased by 230,000. A similar outcome occurred with ATMs in the banking industry. The number of bank jobs in the U.S. has increased at a healthy clip since ATMs first became widespread in the late 1980s. Automated technology allowed banks to operate branch offices at lower cost, prompting them to open more branches and offsetting the loss in teller jobs.
BitFlow has seen similar results with customers employing its frame grabbers in machine vision applications, says Waide: "Compared to human inspection, machine vision is far more accurate in detecting defects. It improves the quality of products which in turn makes for higher demand for the products with less waste. Greater demand and profitability translates into more growth for the company and more jobs, not less."
15 MILLION NEW JOBS
Close to 15 million new jobs will be created in the U.S. over the next decade as a direct result of automation, equivalent to 10% of the American workforce, according to a report from Forrester Research, while another 25 million will be transformed with new responsibilities and potentially higher pay. American jobs that could be made irrelevant by automation over the next two decades are typically lower paying and require little training, such as telemarketers and fast-food service workers.
"Automation and robotics may create more jobs than the number lost in areas such as software, engineering, design, maintenance, support and training," Waide predicted. "Not all will require a college degree, but some higher eduction or retraining will typically be needed, especially the STEM jobs - those in science, technology, engineering or math."
To learn more about BitFlow, call 781-932-2900 or visit www.bitflow.com.
BitFlow has been developing reliable, high-performance Frame Grabbers for use in imaging applications since 1993. BitFlow is the leader in Camera Link frame grabbers, building the fastest frame grabbers in the world, with the highest camera/frame grabber densities, triggering performance, and price. With thousands of boards installed throughout the world, into hundreds of imaging applications, BitFlow is dedicated to using this knowledge and experience to provide customers with the best possible image acquisition and application development solutions. BitFlow, located in Woburn, MA, has distributors and resellers located all over the world including Asia, the Americas, and Europe. Visit our website at www.bitflow.com.