How to Protect Workers from Job Stealing Robots Essay Sample

Published: 2018-09-26
How to Protect Workers from Job Stealing Robots Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Human resources Information technologies Technology
Pages: 9
Wordcount: 2217 words
19 min read

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI), including robotics, has brought an increase in technology thus causing an increased productivity growth as it helps increase working hours ("Automation and Anxiety"). Hence there is an increased standard of living resulting from increased incomes following AI growth. The problem with AI, however, crops from the fact that those employees with low-paying jobs (less than $20 per hour) are susceptible to pressure than the higher paid employees (more than $20 and $40) are from automation (Furman "How To Protect Workers From Job-Stealing Robots"). The question that arises therefore, is how to protect workers from job-stealing robots even as the technology advances. Answering this question is the major purpose of this essay as conclusions will be drawn from various resources that address the same issue. Additionally, the essay will give a brief review of the problems in conjunction to the advantages that crop from the application of the robots in the production sector.

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From what can be gathered from many sources, the rise in AI is a sure way of rendering most of the current workers jobless. The counterargument to this idea is that, though AI is growing and replacing human labor, it is also introducing completely novel job fields in the market (Smith and Anderson "AI, Robotics, And The Future Of Jobs"). Nevertheless, as Furman puts it,

“The introduction of technology; AI robots, will contribute to the low skilled laborers (who happen to constitute the low-income employees) with having novel job fields, which will be associated with a low income and inequality season causing a lengthened period of unemployment.” (Furman "How To Protect Workers From Job-Stealing Robots").

In other words, the introduction of robots in the production industry, of both goods and services, and the enhanced automation within the same industry is substantially linked to unemployment and thus inequality problems among others. Of which, there is dire need to look into the facts revolving around these problems and thus propose solutions to minimize their effects on a global scale.

Most research documents the dawn of a massive unemployment as AI increases. The major reason being that even though there is a beam of hope for inducing a creation of new working sectors for the workers, the transition and induction of the knowledge and the information needed to venture into these fields will take time (Furman "How To Protect Workers From Job-Stealing Robots"). In other words, the practicality required to maintain the learning and applications in this new sector will require much time to be transmitted through the market. This means that there will be a heightened level of stagnation and deterioration in the employment sector before the labor market can pick up again. Also, even though the labor market may be back to stability later, it will never be able to cater for all the lost jobs and some of the people will remain unemployed since the labor market will only make it back to a state of average income (MacEwan 30).

The rationale behind the loss of jobs can further be attributed to the fact that those who will be replaced by the robots are not the ones who will necessarily be employed back into the industry. Reason being, they are most probably not even close to attaining the qualifications necessary to fill in the shoes of those the opened labor sectors. In comparison to the period of the Great Recession, the robotic era will result to lower wage problem within the society which could be attributed to the being that those who lose their jobs will most probably end up in getting jobs that have lower wages (MacEwan 30).

Robotic Systems are Imporving the Nature of Production

Also in as much as the robotic systems are here to improve the amount of work and the nature of production. It follows that the robots are just machines and are prone to ‘slavery’ from their owners. The machines are hence prone to breakdown or wayward manipulations from their owners. These undesirable factors can only lead to compromise of the production systems in the industry. In other words, the artificial intelligence programmed in these robots is prone to alterations and failures. Not to forget, it is associated with uncertainties regarding the returns it guarantees the industry owner. This means that the owner of the industry may not reap the lion’s share from the robotic systems since the owners (producers), such as Google, Apple among others, of the robots may be requiring a proportion of these returns (MacEwan 30).

Artificial Intelligence is also linked with an increased trend of income inequality. The middle income, for instance, has fallen considerably; from 76% to 63% of the total income in the current century (Dollar 30). This means that those classified as middle income earning workers are significantly decreasing in the current times. The results of increasing income inequality are the reduced growth of the economy and the apparent deterioration of the living standards of the people themselves (Guan 15). It is ironical that the average level is increasing even as income inequality increases. However, it should be noted that the increased average income can only be characterized by the people at the top of the income bracket. That means that the inequality gap is increasing with the increasing AI application levels. At best this scenario only leads back to the state of a slow growing economy or even a crisis as the growth in output of production will be met by an insufficient aggregate demand within the unbalanced income society.

In an article by Feit, an author with Fortune, the robots are said to have an advantage of “not taking bathroom breaks or even sleeping” (Feit "How to Stop Robots from Taking Your Job"). This means that production and services can be made on a 24/7 basis by the robots. They cannot quit (the robots) which makes the even more reliable than the human workers. From a positive point of view, these can be taken as advantages but they are can also be taken as downsides for the production system. The robots want ones’ job, and that is what they are here to do (Ambasna-Jones "Will Automation and the Internet of Things Lead to Mass Unemployment?"). The robots are meant to totally obviate the employees rather than make their work more efficient (Feit "How to Stop Robots from Taking Your Job"). However, based on the benefits associated with robotics, it is essential for the organizations and countries at large to prepare for a long-term solution to reducing the negative impact of these negative consequences.

Amidst all these negativities, there lingers some hope especially for well-established economies such as the United States; there are plenty of options towards ensuring that the workers remain employed even as the robots increase in the job sector. For instance, it is suggested that if the labor-market institutions are adjusted to compensate for the changing labor sector, then the world would concentrate on adjusting and accommodating AI growth rather than mitigating it. In other words, the adjustment of the labor market is the key to reducing inequality and increase employment even with the rising AI (Kartsen "How Robots, Artificial Intelligence, And Machine Learning Will Affect Employment And Public Policy”). The job-trainers, the licensing regimes, the relocation assistance and other labor- market institutions should be in the frontline to reduce the negative implications brought about by the growth of AI.

Artificial Intelligence Growth

For this matter, the unemployment insurance, the tax system, the wage protections and the education and training and other sectors are the major shapers of the policies of the labor market. Thus they would be expected to enhance the labor sector even with the increasing rates of AI growth. The major role they can play is the reinforcement of the low-income workers so that they can keep up with the changing AI sector without being greatly affected. The logic behind enhancing education revolves around the fact that the robotics involve the use of intense IT knowledge; at the production and application levels of the robots. It is evident that the robots, as much as they are efficient in their programmed work, they are poor critical thinkers and social communicators. In this case, it would be essential for the human employees to be taken through a system of the intensive antiquated education system. This system should not only focus on the normal education skills that are now administered but should be focused significantly on the management and creativity skills (Feit "How to Stop Robots from Taking Your Job"). Subsequently, the people will still be able to coexist with the recent growing robotic production. The two parties will work together where the humans will compensate for the robots’ shortcomings and the robots for the humans’ shortcomings. Furthermore, there is a need for the private sector to take part in regulating the AI growth and thus impact the change in the labor (Palmer "Is Your Job At Risk From AI? What Artificial Intelligence Means For The Enterprise").

Additionally, for there to be a successful blend-in of the workers and the robots, there is a grave need for the coordination of the private and the public sector. The major commonality between the two being based on financial grounds. To be clearer, the private sector is investing in research to enhance the operations of the robots and at the same time uphold employment. This means that there is intensive investment required by the private sector. However, the private sector is experiencing an under-investment in the research sector for scientifically based knowledge to enhance the robots. It follows that the private sector needs lump sum amounts of money to do the research. This is where the public sector and the federal government, comes in. The federal spending needs to be focused on the relevant research-based investments, especially for the private sector.

The importance of embracing rather than abhorring the onset of a robotic economy cannot be overstressed as there are commendable benefits that go along with it. For instance, as already hinted out there is an increase in the productivity yield of the economy which is mainly associated with the high-income economies such as the United States. In these economies also, there has been a big increase in the real incomes of the workers. It goes without saying that the improved technology has also resulted in increased leisure time gains for the respective workers. The advantage of “more leisure time is the probable increase in pleasant lives” (MacEwan 31) which improves production. The improved production is as a result of reduced consumerism and the increased resumption of the long-term trend as leisure increases.

In conclusion, the robots are here to stay and the fact is, they are crucial enhancers of productivity. However, they are a big threat to the employment of many workers. For this reason, it is important for the public and the private sector, and the whole labor market management bodies to work together towards enhancing the coexistence of these the robots and the employees. Education is a fundamental element in this process where the workers should be impacted with necessary technological knowledge. The policy makers especially concerning the labor market and their statutes is another major element in ensuring that the workers still maintain their employment or are guaranteed of re-employment even as the world moves more into automation. Competitiveness plays a major role in ensuring that the wage levels per employee, no matter the level of income, are well compensated in their work levels. For the entire economy, there is a great need for the for a considerable regulation of the prices even and increased the variety of goods even as the economy moves towards an automation controlled production sector. Much should also be invested in the development and research sectors for the improvement of the coexistence between the workers and the robots. More research is essential especially for yielding solutions to the major problem: loss of jobs. In other words, much can be reaped from the robots, the AI, if the conditions surrounding employment are tuned to the right levels that help accommodate for the unemployment threats.  

Work Cited

Ambasna-Jones, Marc. "Will Automation And The Internet Of Things Lead To Mass Unemployment?” The Guardian. N.P., 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

"Automation and Anxiety." The Economist. N.P., 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Feit, Ryan. "How to Stop Robots from Taking Your Job." Fortune. N.P., 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Furman, Jason. "How to Protect Workers from Job-Stealing Robots." The Atlantic. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Guan, Melody. "Rise Of The Robotic Workforce: What Happens When Bots Take Our Jobs." Harvard Political Review (2015): 15-17. Print.

Kartsen, Jack. "How Robots, Artificial Intelligence, And Machine Learning Will Affect Employment And Public Policy | Brookings Institution". Brookings. N.p., 2015. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.

MacEwan, Arthur. "Will Artificial Intelligence Mean Massive Job-Loss?” Dollars & Sense (2016): 29-31. Print.

Palmer, Danny. "Is Your Job At Risk From AI? What Artificial Intelligence Means For The Enterprise". N.p., 2015. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.

Smith, Aaron and Janna Anderson. "AI, Robotics, And The Future Of Jobs". Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. N.p., 2014. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.

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