Rise of the Machines

A robot for every job | Marketplace.org.

Meet Baxter, the latest in a line of industrial robots that will take yur jerb!

Industrial robots and automation have been changing manufacturing for decades now. And with every new innovation, we always have this doom and gloom about how robots are going to destroy all the manufacturing jobs. This of course, ignores the main reason US manufacturing jobs have declined in recent decades: Cheap overseas labor that’s willing to work for low wages and difficult conditions. Conditions that are so bad, manufacturers have to instal suicide prevention nets for when the workers finally do break.

Robots are changing the face of manufacturing, it’s true. And the advent of automobile put buggy whip makers out of work. Workers are going to be retrained. People are going to be needed to build, install, and maintain the robots and do the things robots can’t do.

But none of that will matter unless we as a society stop rewarding companies in their race to the bottom in working conditions with countries like China.