Future of Work News

Ongoing Labor Shortages Causing Robotic Investment Surge


For decades, technologists and business leaders have debated over whether or not robots would be able to fully replace human labor. Advancements in both computing power and software development have certainly shown robots are becoming more diverse in functionality, but ultimately a long way off from reaching the same level as skilled employees. However, the current state of the global economy may be the true beginning of a robotics-driven workforce.

According to a recent article by CNBC, numerous retailers and restaurants are increasing investments in robotics, automation, and related technologies, to help combat the labor shortages brought on by the pandemic. Robots are still unable to participate in complex business tasks, but are becoming useful for a number of routine operations utilizing digital technology. For instance, Starbucks and similar fast-food establishments are utilizing tablets for self-service orders, eliminating the need for human cashiers. Sam’s Clubs is also investing heavily in robotics, and is currently utilizing machines developed by BrainCorp to automatically clean floors and pick up debris.

BrainCorp VP of Product and Marketing Josh Baylin told CNBC, “A robot can do that repetitive, boring job while that same worker is either going and talking with customers to provide more customer service or potentially spot-clean other areas in the store that may need more attention,”

The increase in robotic investments by major businesses may seem like a job killer, but workers seem to be revolting against the very jobs robots are likely to replace. Since the dawn of The Great Resignation, businesses have been unable to find workers for low-skilled positions, as workers are becoming more determined to find careers with more value and meaning. Because businesses still need these monotonous tasks completed, robotics and automation are really the only option for ensuring the work gets done.

This may not be such a dire situation. With technology taking over undesirable tasks, business leaders can allocate human labor to more complex and creative responsibles, which could bring more value to employee work experiences. Additionally, businesses will benefit financially from robots, as advanced machines do not require training or a salary to be productive. These cost savings can then be used to increase business and hire staff for new business opportunities.

Investing in robotics may seem insulting to the human employees who keep our economy running, but may be one of the key factors to creating more meaningful job opportunities in the near future.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Future of Work Contributor

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