What Happens if Robots Take the Jobs? Free

The Increase in Technology Means Fewer Blue-Collar Jobs in The Future

Year after year, the world inevitably discusses several topics that do not lose their relevance even today. One of these topics is industrial automation. Some experts say that the growth in the field of robotics will lead to mass unemployment in the industrial sector. Pragmatists and heralds of the apocalypse, of course, agree with them. This fact consists of not only the massive distribution of 3D printing, unmanned vehicles and the ubiquitous presence of robots. The future is also associated with unemployment for many people. There exists an opinion that by 2020, five million people will lose their jobs due to the development of artificial intelligence and robotics. Thus, the main aim of the assignment is to understand the main features of this problem, as well as to discuss some options for its effective solution. Although the next generation of industrial automation will result in some blue-collar jobs becoming obsolete, it is important to remember that this is not the first major industrial transformation and technological evolution always leads to the evolution of labor.
To begin, it is important to note that paradigm-shifting forces, such as cognitive technologies and the open economy of talent, are rebuilding future workforce, forcing many organizations to rethink the ways they design their work processes, organize work, and plan future growth. Moreover, technological unemployment has already become a fait accompli, but people continue to argue about its possible emergence in the future. This situation is very similar to the one that has evolved around climate change: disputes about it are still not abating, although the world already sees the manifestations of climate change every day. The increase in technology is real and many companies are actively investing in robotization, because it means an increase in production while reducing costs. It is good for business, but the issues of employment and unemployment still need their detailed discussion.
Observing the roots of the problem, it can be said that at the beginning of the 20th century, farming was the backbone of the emerging American middle class. One of the three working Americans worked in agriculture. Today, only 2% of the American workforce works in this industry, and they create many times more products. Thinking about the ways in which machines replaced weavers, it is possible to find the same trend (West, 2015). In such a way, the general trend is clear: a decline in the share of directly human labor in the economy.
In addition, exploring the historical context of this problem, it is good to note that the long-term advantages of the Industrial Revolution were not at all obvious at the time. To explain, in the period 1750-1850, the quality of life of most people in Britain almost did not improve at all because the growth of production was concentrated in just a few areas. The introduction of machines caused the famous Luddite riots. Such riots were possible because people were dissatisfied with the replacement of human labor by machines. Whatever we may say, the era of industrialization was very turbulent. It is highly likely that this situation will happen again in this century. Moreover, it seems that at this time, an aggravating factor will be the replacement of blue-collar jobs by new technological devices.
The fact that robots, automation and software can replace people may seem obvious to anyone who has worked in the automotive industry or as a travel agent. Rapid technological progress destroys jobs faster than it creates them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States (Autor, 2015). It is possible to suspect that something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries too. It can be claimed that technologies stand behind both intensive growth of productivity and weak growth in the number of blue-collar jobs.
This is alarming news, as it undermines confidence in technological progress. On the one hand, technology increases productivity and makes society richer, but such increase in productivity can also have a dark side: technical progress eliminates the need for many types of work and leaves the average worker in a worse situation than before. Frey and Osborne mentioned that the median income stops growing, even when GDP is overlaid (Frey and Osborne, 2015). As MIT economists, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson explained: “It’s the great paradox of our era. Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up” (Ricken, 2017).
Naturally, it is wrong to discuss the increase in technology only from the negative side as a problem of unemployment. For instance, in most cases, robots will be able to take on only part of the operations for which a specific employee is responsible, but not all of his work. On the one hand, not all jobs can be fully automated. On the other hand, high probability of automation is not a mandatory guarantee for automation. For example, in Japanese factories Renault-Nissan, almost all labor of robots is used, but in India, it turns out to be cheaper to use local labor. However, it is rather an exception to the rule. In one or another way, in this period, technological progress will cause at least a short-term noticeable decline in employment. Thus, people should be able to survive this time and adapt to the new situation.
Due to increased collaboration and cognitive technologies, the nature of work is changing. As different technological systems, robotics, and cognitive tools grow, almost every job is created anew, turning into an object, which many call an “expanded workforce”. As this trend picks up speed, organizations and industries need to rethink the ways they design workflows, organize their work, and construct plans for their future growth (Rotman, 2015).
Exploring some solutions there can be seen that automation, cognitive and crowdsourcing technologies are the driving forces that are changing the work force now and will change it in the nearest future. Organizations are rebuilding jobs to take advantage of cognitive systems and robots, and there appears an opportunity to rethink “basic human skills”. Organizations should experiment and introduce cognitive tools, focus on retraining people to use these tools, and rethink the role of people as more and more jobs become automated. We have explained that in the future, there may be fewer blue-collar jobs, but they will require more skills and will be well paid.
Today there is a new focus on the “human aspects” of work. For example, while tasks are automated, the “essentially human” part of the work becomes more important. Skills such as empathy, communication, some personal beliefs and personal attitudes, problem solving and strategic decision-making are more valuable than ever. While some are dramatizing the negative effects of technological revolution, cognitive technology, and robotics, these powerful tools help to create new jobs, increase productivity, and allow workers to focus on the human aspects of work. This opens another design issue, as companies must always think about effective ways to achieve the highest total cost through automation, balancing the short-term and long-term implications of these decisions for their organization, work, and workforce.
With a careful approach, automation (and the use of crowdsourcing) can have a huge positive impact on productivity, employee engagement and customer value. The company Amazon.com, for example, “effectively uses automation to rapidly scale warehousing and delivery during holiday seasons, reducing employee-training time and maintaining a reputation as one of the leading employer brands in its industry” (Frey and Osborne, 2015).
The transition from full-time employees to an expanded workforce (supplemented by technology and crowdsourcing) is one of the most complex trends in human capital that has appeared on the horizon. It changes all familiar concepts about the essence of work (along with all the consequences for a career), the real meaning of work, the ways in which people are trained and selected, and the ways in which the workplace is designed. It divides traditional ideas about what types of work can be performed by people and machines, and also redefines the involved segments of the workforce.
Although the introduction of robotics is fast, the ability of companies to repurpose and reorganize their work around automation is still not good enough. Many executives assess their company or industry as not sufficiently prepared to agree on the scope of their competencies, taking into account new requirements for robotics, cognitive technologies and other technologies; relocate staff replaced by these technologies; redeploy employees to work with these new tools.
In such a way, the main solution to the problem can be found in the necessity to rethink the limits of work between people and machines. Robots and cognitive technologies are constantly evolving, especially in the jobs and tasks that follow from standardized rules and logic. This reinforces the critical task for business and HR executives, namely, the need to define, design and manage the future of work, workforce and jobs in order to create a reliable understanding of the essence of human skills.
HR leaders should focus their attention on defining the main difference between basic human skills, such as ethical and creative thinking, and also non-essential tasks that can be controlled by machines. This approach requires rethinking careers, as well as developing new ways of working and new ways of learning, both in organizations and for individuals. In such a way, “future workforce will require a balance of technical skills, as well as some general skills, such as problem solving skills, creativity, social skills, and emotional intelligence” (West, 2015).
Thus, the main solutions are the following:
– To explore all types of inhuman labor resources: the whole spectrum of robotics, cognitive and artificial technologies, in order to supplement human employees, using the power of machines to perform more tasks. Cooperating with the business, HR can help re-design work related to rapid changes in robotics and artificial intelligence.
– To redesign multi-year strategic and annual operational workforce planning: consider allocating strategic multi-year work planning, workforce and jobs so that it combines new segments of talent and technology to develop specific future workforce scenarios – based on annual operational workforce planning.
– To work on planning and implementing new solutions jointly, regardless of their function and department. It is important to check the fact that the new level of the “expanded” workforce is in line with the business strategy and operational, HR-managers and other corporate functions are included in it. This is likely to require experimentation with new ways of working and coordination between different organizational structures.
– To invest in critical human skills for the future workforce: problem solving, creativity, project management, listening, making moral and ethical decisions because all these skills, in fact, are the human skills that every organization needs both now and in the future.
In conclusion, we have discussed the main ways in which the increase in technology is associated with the decrease in blue-collar jobs, and have discussed some solutions for this problem. We have also observed the ways in which the use of various technologies such as robotics, cognitive technologies and flexible human resource strategies can be combined with maximum efficiency and productivity in creating new temporary and permanent jobs. Thus, traditionally, the education system trained employees for industrial or office occupations, while now the focus will shift to the professions, which require personal contacts.

Works Cited
Autor, D. “Why are there still so many jobs? The history and future of workplace automation.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 29, no. 3, 2015.
Frey, C. and Osborne, M. Technology at Work: The Future of Innovation and Employment. Citi GPS: Global Perspectives & Solutions, 2015.
Ricken, G. “How Technology Is Going to Change The Workforce In A Way We’ve Never Seen Before.” Forbes.com, 2017. Available at https://www.forbes.com/sites/impactpartners/2018/11/16/are-you-ready-to-take-on-the-responsibility-of-your-retirement/#616abc8f7ddc
Rotman, D. “How Technology Is Destroying Jobs.” MIT Technology Review, 2015. Available at https://www.technologyreview.com/s/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/
West, D. “What happens if robots take the jobs? The impact of emerging technologies on employment and public policy.” Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings,

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