There has been a rapid advancement in robotics and computer technological breakthroughs over the recent years. As a result, there has been an increased application of robots in almost every aspect of human life such as in industrial manufacturing, in science, agriculture and medicine. Robots in several applications have the potential of performing tasks that can be done by hundreds or thousands of people (Konczal). The application of robots has resulted in both positive and negative impacts on the economy. The increased application of robots in the economy plays a significant negative role as this contributes to the displacement of workers resulting in high cases of unemployment.
During the early 19th century, almost 75 percent of the U.S. population was employed in the agricultural sector. However, with the historical mechanization of agriculture, most of the people lost their jobs to other sectors of the economy. Presently, in the U.S., there are about 2-3 percent of the population who are employed in the agricultural sector (Martin). Consequently, the advancement of technology such as robots to the sectors that make up the economy irreversibly eliminates millions of jobs.
The automation of labor in industries due to the application of robots is negatively affecting the economy due to the massive unemployment. The use of robots in the process of industrial manufacturing takes over thousands of jobs from people because robots are more efficient and perform tasks at a faster rate. For instance, the practical application of robots in the manufacturing process has increased over the last two decades. They have been widely applied in the assembly lines and in the manufacture of products for instance automobiles, clothing, foods and drugs (Felicia). As a result, the thousands of people who could have performed these tasks have been displaced by these robots rendering the jobless.
The robots technologies have a great future in terms of the areas where they can replace human labor. For instance, according to Konczal, personal robots will in due course perform all the house chores from cooking to cleaning. The robots will also be in a position to perform some tasks such as offering security and other jobs that are menial and with inadequate labor due to the low wages for instance taking care of the elderly. This application requires sophisticated technology and with the rapid development in technology they can be realized. Consequently, with the robot revolution in these sectors, more jobs will be cut leading to high cases of unemployment
The manufacturing automation processes is dramatically increasing in most of the developed nations such as Japan, China and Europe. The most disruptive effect of technology, particularly the robots, is in the service division where there are millions of white collar and service jobs mainly in the distribution, retail, food sector and others. According to Martin, if the robots have the capacity to make an iPhone, then they have the capacity to also mix a latte or make a hamburger. As a result, the application of robots in the service sector contributes to the increasing cases of high unemployment among the active workers and stagnant wages (Felicia).
The use of robots in the military is negatively affecting employment in the military service and battle grounds. There are plans in future to replace a large number of people from battlefields and replace them with robots that can act as soldiers on the war front. For instance, highly successful combat robots have been manufactured such as the “Talon”. The Talon is a tracked robotic vehicle that is fully armed and it races alongside the soldiers firing a machine gun, anti-tank rockets, or grenade launcher. The "throwbots" are small robots that are hand held and they are used in performing surveillance so as to enable a soldier in viewing beyond the obstacles and around corners (Brasch 34). As a result, the robots have taken over most of the people’s employment opportunities in the military, mainly for those lacking substantial skills and training.
The robots in the near future will infiltrate almost all sectors of the economy that involves human labor. With the rapid innovations and technological advancement, the robots will not only be useful in the manufacturing jobs, will be useful in high-skill labor jobs for instance in legal research and translations (Tucker 173). Even though the application of robots in these activities can result in increased profits and efficiency, the increased levels of unemployment that is created negatively impacts the economy as a whole.
In conclusion, the application of machines and robots in human activities over the years has resulted in increased efficiency and productivity. However, robots can perform a task that can be performed by hundreds of people over people’s jobs mostly in the assembly and manufacturing lines. As a result, these results in people becoming jobless after their jobs have been taken over and this negatively impacts a country’s economy. In addition, the future presents a brilliant breakthrough in the application of robotic technology in almost all sectors that use human labor. Accordingly, the automation and use of robots in industries is negatively affecting the economy due to the massive unemployment levels.
Brasch, Nicolas. Robots of the Future. New York: PowerKids Press, 2013. Internet resource.
Felicia, Greene. How Do Robots & Robotics Affect the Workplace?. 12 Dec. 2012. Web. 4 Jun. 2013. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/robots-robotics-affect-workplace-12422.html
Konczal, Mike. “Robots and the Future of Unemployment.” The Atlantic. 10 Aug. 2009. Web. 4 Jun. 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/08/robots-and-the-future- of-unemployment/22987/
Martin, Ford. Unemployment from Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Computers - Will Robots and Machines steal our Jobs? 25 Oct. 2010 Web. 4 Jun. 2013. http://future- econ.blogspot.com/2009/11/unemployment-from- robotics-artificial.html
Tucker, Irvin B. Macroeconomics for Today. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.