At the beginning of 2019, I came across an article that was titled "Record Number of Robots Replaced Humans in 2018". Naturally, I clicked on the article to see what this was all about, and quite frankly, came away a bit disappointed. The disappointment was not at the number of robots shipped to North America, which was indeed a record number. What was disappointing was the lack of information about the actual replacement of jobs due to the increased shipments of robots. While the article did a good job of highlighting data published by the Associate for Advanced Automation (A3), it lacked drawing any alignment to how this record number of robotic shipments actually impacted employment.
The lack of alignment brings up the question of whether or not there is an actual correlation between jobs and robotics and automation? Clearly there is a correlation, but does this correlation have to be negative? Is it possible that the growth in automation technology is actually helping to create new jobs and opportunities? These are the types of questions we should all be asking ourselves, because the fact is, robotics and automation technology is increasing in its use and we must be preparing for how automation will impact the future of employment. The question is no longer if robotics will become useful in new ways and industries (it is) rather the question is how fast will the growth in the use of robots be and how will this impact economic and employment opportunities.