How Rise Of The Robots Could Help Printers
New research suggests that in the next decade, robots could replace up to 4 million jobs in the private sector in Britain. Analysts state, instead of hindering print, automation and robotics could help it.
YouGov conducted a poll for RSA, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, in which the datasets of the government were analysed and the employers and business leaders were asked about the artificial intelligence and automation. It was found that robots could replace 15% of the workforce currently employed in the private sector.
The people that took part in the survey believe that jobs in the advertising, marketing, media, manufacturing, distribution, transport, accounting, and finance have a high chance of being automated in the next decade.
The RSA report in detail
The report by RSA questioned whether the concerns that have been expressed over robots replacing jobs are justified. The report thus concluded that robotics and artificial intelligence have a high chance of altering jobs rather than eliminating them. It further stated that it could pave the path of development for the UK as long as automation is implemented on our own terms.
As old jobs get exhausted, new jobs are formed. Since 2011, the number of programmers has grown by 40% in the UK. Meanwhile, the figures of IT directors have doubled since then.
According to the RSA, the rising productivity that the new machines cause could lead to prices dropping; thus, consumers won’t divert their demand elsewhere in the economy.
While some argue that new technology can deskill occupations and lead to workplace surveillance, it can also raise the levels of productivity, make businesses in the UK competitive, paving the way for higher paying jobs, and encourage employees to avoid hazardous or dangerous tasks.
The report stresses that the UK should consider taking up robotics and AI, however, it should set terms that the automation should be such that the livelihoods of workers are enriched instead of being diminished.
Can robots actually help the UK?
According to the RSA, the number of industrial robotics that were sold to the UK decreased between 2014 and 2015. It was found that UK purchased a lower number of robots than Italy, Spain, Germany, US, and France. From the business leaders surveyed, only 14% stated that they are interested in investing in this new technology.
According to the sales and marketing manager of ABB Robotics, Mike Wilson, robots are ideal for doing arduous, mundane, and repetitive tasks that humans don’t want to do.
Robotics and AI is just a tool with which the workforce could become more productive. The productivity of the UK print industry is lagging as compared to the productivity of it’s major competitors. Unless the industry addresses this problem, it will be difficult to beat the competition.
By automating the tasks that are difficult for people and instead using them to perform such tasks in which they can add value, the country will be more competitive and more productive. As a result, the print industry will grow and will employ a greater number of people.
Sean Smyth, the print consultant of Smithers Pira, states that futurologists have been well-known to predict the wrong things. He further added that futurologists provide their opinion not because they have solid facts, but because people ask them for it.
Sean states that the rise of robots is going to be subtle. Robots won’t be replacing certain specific operators. It is a fact that humans are flexible and robots are entirely inflexible. Print mostly involves flexibility, and in the market, there will be no-touch automation, but a person will still be needed in case things go wrong.
Of course, machines will still be seen handling a lot of repetitive manual tasks and take part in manual lifting.
The research done by RSA is a follow-up of a study “The Future of Employment,” which was published two years ago. The research focuses on jobs that are susceptible to automation and came to the conclusion that there was a mixed outlook on the likelihood of automation replacing jobs.