Why do robots take jobs

Automation technology: Are robots taking our jobs away from us?

Cyborgs, humanoids, androids and robots made of artificial tendons and muscles have one thing in common: in the future, they will make jobs for many employees more than ever. Scientists from Oxford University have come to this conclusion. According to their study (PDF), almost half of all jobs, mainly office and production jobs, are at risk in the USA. But which jobs are still affected? Are academics spared the machine age? Why does the car manufacturer Toyota continue to rely on manual labor? What influence do bank speculators and the minimum wage have on automation?

There is no such study for Germany yet, but we asked the Federal Employment Agency and the Bundeswehr what they think of the debate "Do robots endanger our jobs?" hold. Is it all just scare tactics or is the fear of losing a job justified?

Office and production occupations particularly affected

The study by the two researchers at Oxford University, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, bears the title "The Future of Employment: How Vulnerable are Professions to Computerization?" and was released on September 17, 2013. They investigated whether advances in computer science and robotics could increase unemployment in the next decade or two. Their result: 47 percent of all employed Americans are at risk of losing their jobs due to computerization.

This overview shows jobs that can be automated and those that are initially spared. (Photo: Oxford University)

"Our study predicts that it will affect workers in the transportation and logistics industries who perform office, administrative and manufacturing work.", write Frey and Osborne. Occupations such as tax consultants, watchmakers and sewer workers, for example, are at risk. Professions such as therapist and social worker are considered halfway safe.

Against the trend: Toyota relies on manual work

  1. Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians Hesse, Frankfurt
  2. ulrich GmbH & Co. KG, Ulm

Although some studies and proponents of computerization are predicting the great machine age and companies like Amazon are investing heavily in it, there are also aloof attitudes. The Japanese car manufacturer Toyota is skeptical about the automation boom in the industry. The company is focusing more on human work again and is very keen to improve it. "If there is ever a technology that is flawless and always creates perfect products, we will be ready to build these machines"explains Toyota Senior Manager Mitsuru Kawai. So far, however, there has been no machine that is stable over the long term. For Kawai, the time when machines will replace people in Toyota's automobile production is still a long way off.

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