I robot, your job
Each newly installed robot displaces an average 1.6 manufacturing workers. And by 2030, as many as 20m additional manufacturing jobs worldwide could be displaced by robotisation, according to the How Robots Change the World report from Oxford Economics.
However, the research shows that the negative effects of robotisation will disproportionately hit the world’s lower-income regions as a new robot displaces nearly twice as many jobs in poorer areas of the same country.
“At a time of worldwide concern about growing levels of economic inequality and political polarisation, this finding has important social and political implications,” states Oxford Economics.
The most vulnerable regions are removed from the wealthier districts of their countries – such as Cumbria in the UK, Franche- Comté in France, and the high desert of Eastern Oregon in the US – and they often include towns or cities with strong manufacturing heritages. In contrast, regions that surround knowledge-intensive cities, such as Toulouse and Grenoble in France, or Munich and Stuttgart in Germany, typically show much lower levels of vulnerability to the rise of the robot.
“As the pace of robotics adoption quickens, policymakers will be faced with a dilemma,” says the report. “While robots enable growth, they exacerbate income inequality. Automation will continue to drive regional polarisation in many of the world’s advanced economies, unevenly distributing the benefits and costs across the population. This trend will intensify as the impact of automation on jobs spreads from manufacturing to the services sector.”
ROBOTS UPDATE: The UK government is investing £6.3m into farm robot innovation. The cash will go to the University of Lincoln which is looking to develop a centre of excellence in agri-robotics. The new facility will look into how robots can tend and harvest crops.