Who Will Be Replaced By Robots At Work

The increasingly globalized and fast moving marketplace can be a vibrant and exciting concept, but it can be an extremely scary one too. The geopolitical climate has made working conditions around the world increasingly precarious for people of all ages, nations and skill sets, though (unsurprisingly) migrant labour appears due to take a lot of the heaviest hits. Between Trump’s ‘America First’ aggressive posturing and the United Kingdom’s increasingly worrying anti-migrant rhetoric in Brexit negotiations, the future looks cloudy for a great many hard working people. Developed countries like Britain and the US appear to be adopting the Chinese and Indian model of emphasizing low skilled, low paid labor and automating wherever possible. 

For women of color, who bear the historical weight of all those who have worked so tirelessly to create a voice in the workplace, this is particularly egregious. In the United States, the perceived leader of the free world, a recent study showed that black women earn only 65.4% as much as white men. For Hispanic women the figure was 53,8% and for native American women 59.6%. These statistics paint a picture of a country in need of change yet these figures appear set to decrease rather than increase with the increased influx of automation into many lower paid jobs. 

Academic studies, such as a study by Oxford University have predicted that some 47% of jobs are under threat of automation. This has led to the recent publication of a website which determines your job’s susceptibility to automation entitled Will Robots take My Job? While the website is intended as a light hearted exercise it’s an eye opener for many women of colour in the workplace whose jobs are under threat, especially when there is so much ground yet to be covered. 

This post is not designed to inspire technophobia. Indeed great strides in technology should be celebrated. Many modern automated systems are impressively sophisticated. Just look at the RXSafe, a robot pharmacist that stores, inventories and retrieves medications with dazzling speed and efficiency. This is a great stride, so long as it doesn’t necessitate the redundancy of a skilled technician. Automation of labor is perfectly fine as long as new opportunities arise for those whose roles have been (or are soon to be replaced). 

In their zeal to reduce running costs for businesses and corporations are the world’s governments building the infrastructure of research, education and training to prevent a tidal wave of redundancy? Will our countries build the infrastructure to ensure that the children who would traditionally grow into an increasingly automated workforce will be able to find fulfilling and sustainable careers elsewhere? The simple fact is that the notion of blue collar work will have to change, incorporating different and more comprehensive skills to enable frontline workers to coexist with their mechanical counterparts. The uncomfortable truth, however, is that few countries are ready for that. This could lead to a tsunami of unemployment that could put huge strain on the countries that are lucky enough to have welfare states. 

That’s why education, skills building and entrepreneurship must be the future of the workplace and particularly for women of color. Work must continue to become more inclusive and accessible to all!

I hope you enjoyed this article about the rise of machines in the workplace and the likelihood of your position being replaced by high tech robots.

Interested in more articles about business technology?

Read My Posts:

- Should You Replace Workers With Robots? 

- How To Improve Manufacturing Efficiency With New Tech

Published by Michael J Schiemer
Owner of Bootstrap Business
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