Robots enhancing workforces not depleting

by Charlotte Gurney

The perception that machines are going to take over from humans, with robots leaving people without jobs and career prospects, has been around for decades. However, as we actually enter into an era where robotics is increasingly being used in the workplace, we are starting to see what the true impact of this kind of progress really is. Rather than technology, such as automation, depleting the human experience it actually seems to be enhancing it.

What do we mean by ‘robots’?

Far from the Sci-Fi fantasy depictions of old, robots today are much less likely to give you nightmares. In the context of enhancing workforces, automation, bots and AI are the main robotic components.

Where are robots making an impact?

Many workforces are beginning to integrate robots - and elements of robotics - while looking for solutions to challenges, such as the need to improve efficiency and cut costs. Automation is one of the main ways in which robots are being used in workforces - taking over from humans on repetitive manual tasks that machines can often complete in a fraction of the time. However, there are many other areas in which robots have the potential to make an impact, for example when it comes to lifting heavy loads, dealing with corrosive materials that could harm humans, autonomous deliveries and even cleaning.

Are robots separate entities yet?

The simple answer is no. The personification of robots is something that has given the impression that they are already functioning as independent entities, separate from humans. However, the reality is that this is just not the case. Robots aren’t becoming human and are unlikely to have the technology or capacity to do so in the near future, no matter what the most creative storylines of the past decades may tell us. Machines can’t replace an entire person but they can help when it comes to filling in the places where humans need some help.

Robots enhancing workforces

Technology has a lot to offer where it is deployed to enhance what human employees can do - and targeted at those areas where humans don’t have the same capacity. Automation, bots and AI have the potential to augment what staff can do in the workplace, to help produce more efficient and cost-effective outcomes that don’t come at the cost of human jobs. Robots should not be viewed as standalone employees, as their role is never going to be to take on the entirety of a job that a human can perform. However, what they can offer is the opportunity to support the creation of human employees who are able to operate at maximum efficiency because they have robotic support. Robots can take over the mundane, repetitive tasks and release humans to step into what they are fully capable of doing within the workplace.

Robots are increasingly appearing in businesses across all industries. However, the threat to human jobs is not what it seems. Rather than depleting humans from the workforce, and minimizing their experience, robots have the potential to enhance what people can do.

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