Robotization is the automation of a system or task, such that human labor isn’t necessary, and is replaced with a robotic version. This can have detrimental effects on employment and income, particularly for lower skilled and lower waged workers. Robot labor is being implemented in many settings, depriving humans of those jobs. Types of robots include service robots, that provide services to humans, performing low paying, dangerous, or private and sensitive; personal care robots that provide medical and mobility assistance, companionship, and performing domestic duties; and swarm robots, that work together like a swarm of bees to fix a problem, such as collecting oil from a spill. Robots are increasingly being used in food preparation, medical procedures, security, education, and for industrial and manufacturing purposes.
While robots can perform more dangerous tasks, or manual work that is time consuming, they have a detrimental effect on workers who do these jobs, and these workers are often lower income and dependent on these types of jobs. Other consequences are that land and physical space become less significant, with cyber space becoming the universal business place. Traditional management skills are replaced with technical knowledge and more scientific methods and programming. People who are already privileged and have more advanced skills, become even wealthier, and income disparity and the wealth gap increase.
Robots are also being used in highly skilled and advanced settings such as the medical field, but these workers’ skills are still highly in demand in other ways. Likewise, in technology, if you have advanced skills that can equal, or rival, those of a robot, you are secure for the time being, but those who do more manual and mainstream work hang in the balance.
High unemployment exacerbates poverty and a lack of low paying jobs makes it increasingly harder for the poor to work themselves out of poverty, leading to a damaged economy, greater class division, increased welfare dependence, among other consequences. However, some people argue that robot labor is actually a positive thing, because it will open up more opportunities for humans to do enjoyable work, with robots completing taxing menial jobs. While this may be true, society has always functioned in such a way that workers have been needed at every skill level and in every field.
Robotization also has a global effect, with workers in poorer countries that produce and export goods, or provide cheap labor, also being replaced by robots and technology, and falling behind even more. Countries that have greater technological abilities will be at an advantage, and there will be a greater imbalance that is harder to close.
While the introduction and expansion of robots into the workforce does have its benefits, such as preventing human deaths, improving medical procedures, removing human error from the equation, and allowing for greater productivity, its downsides include an increase in unemployment and poverty, potential security issues such as viruses and malfunctioning, and economic and environmental impacts. Either way, technology is quickly taking over and constantly changing and expanding.