Robots Actually WON'T Take Your Job (Maybe)

By James O Malley on at

Perhaps the naysayers are wrong - perhaps robots won't actually destroy all of our jobs, according to a new report.

Wired got the scoop on the new study carried our by Professors Georg Graetz and Guy Michael of Uppsala University and the LSE respectively. They reckon that robots won't take jobs - but instead will helpfully boost productivity.

The study analysed research and employment data between 1993 and 2007, and according to Wired concluded that "despite ubiquitous discussions of robots' potential impact, there is almost no systematic empirical evidence on their economic effects".

Wired notes that the study points out that up until 2007, robots were able to boost productivity in activities such as welding, harvesting and inspecting equipment - perhaps partially due to improved health and safety as less humans in dangerous places means less accidents and lawsuits.

The authors apparently argued that the introduction of robots is instead analogous to the introduction of earlier technologies like the railways - which transformed society, but still meant that ultimately people had jobs.

Though this said, it also seems to depend on what type of work is being discussed. Apparently the study did show "some evidence" that robots had reduced the hours of low-skilled workers and even some middle-skilled workers. So presumably the highly-skilled academics who wrote the study don't need to worry too much about a robot joining the faculty team, but perhaps everyone else should still be a little nervous.

So could this be good news for workers? Or would we prefer to be sat doing nothing and receiving our universal basic income? I guess we'll have to wait until someone invents Chappie so that we can find out. [Wired]

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