Coronavirus side effect: robots will occupy our jobs even faster

Barista Robot Can Securely Serve Customers Even During Quarantine

Employees of millions of companies, from Apple to Tesla, are sitting at home, trying to avoid unnecessary contacts. And this can, to one degree or another, continue for another year, until the widespread introduction of the vaccine. But there is one solution to eliminate the shortage of labor and to be safe from such situations in the future. Need more robots!

Famous study Oxford University is concerned with the likely share of job automation in 702 professions over the next 15 years. Taking the numbers of scientists, you can calculate how many people will be at risk of losing their jobs. For example, in the US, the government designated some industries at the time of Covid-19:irreplaceable“. They are associated with the production of food, the provision of infrastructure (transport, communications), the release of things for hygiene, the maintenance of the daily natural needs of citizens and so on. This is a critical sector of the economy, without which everything else will instantly fall apart. And after the virus, automation will be one of the first to touch it.

The irreplaceable employees are determined by the US government in such industries.

A complete list of critical employees can be read. here (from the fifth page). About 54% of all jobs in the US are just that. And 67% of these “irreplaceable” employees, about 55 million people, are already easily replaced by robots if they wish. Or large machines that can produce and carry goods, or algorithms that take on the adoption of simple decisions.

The only thing that stopped automation was that it would cost more expensivethan leaving people to work. 67% of these “robotic” positions in critical industries account for only 52% of salaries. That is, this is mainly low-paid labor, for which employers are not particularly spent. It’s like warehousing, manufacturing or selling food. Investing in robotics was previously unprofitable, smart equipment did not have time to pay off for its shelf life.

But now the companies have a new reason to invest in robots: to make sure that their company will stay afloat even in the event of the next pandemic, if employees begin to become ill en masse. In addition, social distancing, mass sanitizers, checks with a thermometer and other precautions in production suddenly made human labor much more expensive. Robots do not need such costs, their needs are more predictable.

The quarantine rules that you cannot communicate closely with outsiders especially affect industries with frequent human contact, such as restaurants, retail, leisure and entertainment industries. According to information from the same Oxford study, by 2030 we will have the technology to automate 86% of the posts in restaurants, 76% in sales and 59% in the entertainment industry.

Were a couple of years ago opinions are widespreadthat this will not happen, because personal contact is important for customers. Nobody wants a soulless car to attend to him. But Covid-19 changed that. Contact with an outsider is now, to put it mildly, not appreciated as it was a year earlier. And research shows that those who survive the pandemic change their behavior forever. Therefore, in the world after coronavirus, people in the role of servants cease to be something desired and valuable.

Robots, waiters, robots, maids, robots, storekeepers and so on – already exist. It remains only to establish their more massive release. When companies, especially large ones, again begin to gain manpower, they will think twice whether a machine can handle this place. “Mechanical employees” are getting smarter, faster and cheaper every day. And now for the first time they are perceived as less risk.

What awaits us

Some technologies are not only ready, but also actively implemented, crowding out people. Amazon in 2012 for $ 777 million acquired the manufacturer of robots Kiva. Now there are more than 200,000 of her smart cars in the company’s warehouses. One such small robot (60×75 cm) can carry goods weighing up to 500 kg. A larger robot-storekeeper drags shelves weighing up to 1,500 kg across the warehouse.

Amazon is also about to start selling Amazon Go technology to all supermarket chains – completely eliminating cash registers, sellers, and cashiers. People in such supermarkets are now needed only to guard and fill the shelves. But these tasks, of course, are very easy to replace with machines, if there is a desire.

Ford has developed a courier robot that arrives in an unmanned vehicle, leaves it, takes the necessary package and brings it to you under the door (even if there are stairs or something else). This is a multi-billion-dollar market, and people are no longer needed here. Such a coronavirus robot will definitely not bring you.

And the Swedish-Swiss company ABB Robotics set there are more than 400,000 industrial robots in production, smart enough and able to do everything that a human hand can do. It is estimated that over the past few years, these machines have replaced more than 2 million workers.

Barista robots already give out coffee, and at Starbucks automatic kiosks and smart coffee stations are being tested, so the client just needs to press a button and the device will do everything by itself. It’s too early to talk about the end of the profession, but gradually such stations will leave the offices and begin to replace all the small street coffee houses, if only because they take up less space and can offer the same coffee cheaper.

Low interest rates in the United States, entire sectors with a huge number of employees performing primitive repetitive tasks, an increase in the number of patents with AI, minimal corporate taxes, venture capital’s interest in the automation industry, and a global pandemic that affects how employers evaluate employees. All these aspects converge, and they all point in the same direction. In the States, 55 million posts in mission-critical industries await automation. That will free $ 1.5 trillion every year. The money here is huge, you just have to get your piece of the pie. What Oxford scientists expected to see in 15 years can happen in 5-7.

Jobs in the developed economies of the world are gradually becoming less than able to work. An increasingly obvious solution to the problem is becoming unconditional basic income. There are even suggestions tax just every robot. In South Korea, this is already happening.

And here the coronavirus also plays its role. If earlier governments were strongly opposed to the idea of ​​the BDB, now Germany and Spain, and Japan ($ 930 each), and USA ($ 1200 for adults, $ 500 for children) in fact, it has already been implemented, albeit in a temporary version. Public opinion is also changing: in Britain, for example, for the first time more than 50% of the population spoke out in support of such a program (and only 24% were against it). Other developed countries, such as Estonia and Switzerland, have been testing their schemes with unconditional basic income for a long time. As the pandemic develops and the intensity of robotization intensifies, such ideas will appear more and more.

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