Robots help companies, but what about society?
That is a dynamic which has been under reflection for many years, and I suppose that will continue with opinions for all tastes.
Recently some MIT professors have published a study made with data from the last years of French companies, in which they indicate how the introduction of robots in their production processes has affected them.
They analyzed more than 50,000 companies, of which 598 of them had installed robots in their processes between 2010 and 2015, and the rest did not.
In general, the companies that installed robots were medium-large, and significantly improved their production processes.
Therefore, they turned out to be more productive and profitable, and they lowered their hourly costs despite the fact that the vast majority increased their workforce. By investing in new technologies, companies grew (even in their workforce) at the cost of taking part of the market from their competitors.
On the contrary, those that did not invest were losing market share compared to the most competitive ones and consequently lost part of their workers.
It is estimated that a robot eliminates around 3 direct jobs, but by improving company costs, it makes it more competitive and companies generally grow, with an increase in staff, at the expense of their less efficient competitors.
The data obtained by these MIT professors from French companies compared them with that obtained from North American companies, and found that they were very similar.
In the end, automation is something that prevails in all fields, and the companies that take the longest to tackle it will be the most affected, and their workers the ones that go first to unemployment.
But how can we make the Society win as a whole?