What Kind of Impact Do Robots Make on Humans?

  Reviewed by: Elisa Shoenberger, M.B.A.
  Written by: Leslie Bloom      Updated November 08, 2018
Mechanized robots are replacing humans in manufacturing.
Engineer programming robot in robotics research facility

The future of business may be robots, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While it is true robots are replacing some human jobs, many processes are becoming more efficient with the help of robots. Robots are most commonly integrated into the manufacturing processes of large corporations. There, they can increase output and productivity, keep labor costs down and improve reliability in manufacturing by removing human error. As automation advances, a growing number of small businesses will use robots to improve their own processes. This can have a significant impact on the human labor force.

Tips

  • While it is true that some human jobs are being replaced by robots, many are becoming more efficient and accurate with the assistance of robots. Robots can increase output and productivity, keep labor costs down and improve reliability in manufacturing by removing human error.

A Robotic Workforce

Robots are a manager’s dream. They are fully autonomous, are programmable for many tasks and are always on time for work. And they are becoming a growing part of the workforce.

The number of robots in industrial use increased fourfold between 1993 and 2003 in the United States and Europe. By 2017, there were an estimated 1.5 million robots working on those two continents alone. By 2030, automation may account for nearly 40 percent of jobs in the United States.

While there are benefits to industry, an increasing number of robots in the workplace means an increase in the unemployment rate of humans and a decrease in wages.

The Human Factor

One of the biggest arguments against using robots in business is that they lack basic human traits. A human brings to their jobs a personal touch, empathy, communication and creativity. These are traits that are highly valued by most business owners and employers.

If you are a small business, the importance of developing long-term relationships with customers may mean that you never use automated technology. Doing so may cause you to lose relationships that your team has developed and nurtured over the years.

Remember that just because the technology exists, it doesn’t mean you have to use it. There are many factors to consider before you use robots in your business, including the importance of the human touch, cost and long-term impacts.

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Industries Using Robots

When you think of robots working in a business, you may think of them on the assembly line moving products from point A to point B. While they are widely used in manufacturing, robots are increasingly being used in other areas of industry.

Some malls and retailers use robots for security, or to provide customer service. A robot can help a customer find something on a shelf or take them to the nearest bathroom. A robot can also patrol parking lot aisles, malls and hallways to look for any suspicious activity.

Robots in warehouses pick orders, package and ship them. They can help a worker or customer find anything in a warehouse and help managers track inventory.

The hotel and customer service industry are using robots to help guests with luggage, clean rooms and deliver laundry. The agriculture industry is even using robots to help harvest vegetables.

Incorporating Robots into Small Business

Despite the increasing use of robots and automated technology, human workers will still be in demand. Robots may be used to enhance the work of humans, but there are still some jobs that a robot cannot do.

Robots are not suitable for jobs that are creative or require thinking outside the box. They are programmed for defined, repetitive activities. Robots also are not suitable for jobs that require human interaction, such as mental health or interactive teaching.

If you are a small-business owner considering incorporating robots into your business, think about how they can integrate into your current structure to help your existing team work more efficiently. You don’t have to lose human staff to incorporate automation. See how other businesses in your industry are moving toward automatic intelligence and think about your future plans.

About the Author

Leslie Bloom has worked in upper-level management positions in both publishing and the mental health field. In addition to years of business and management experience, she has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of online and print publications, including Metro Magazine. She holds degrees in both journalism and law.

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