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Innnovation Advice

The Robotic Revolution at Work

Updated: May 6, 2021

We have taken the first steps in welcoming robots into our homes. What will be next? Will they soon replace our jobs? A recent report by Oxford Economics indicates that the “number of robots in use worldwide has multiplied three-fold over the past two decades, to 2.25 million.” They predict that robots will replace roughly 20 million manufacturing jobs across the world over the next decade. And, McKinsey has found that 45% of current jobs can already be automated. We know it is likely that robots will take over some human activities within a line of work. However, this does not mean they will completely eliminate jobs within that profession. 

A recent article by the World Economic Forum discusses how jobs now includes a collection of tasks across all skill levels. “As long as one of the multitude of tasks that a worker performs cannot be technically and economically automated, then that job is probably safe. For example, our human hands are very complex where the tactile sensors are difficult to replicate. Even though many of a waiter’s tasks can be automated, human touch and interaction is required. The robot may be able to deliver your meal but would likely struggle to place it on your table without spilling. As such, some of the tasks related with waiting tables will still require humans.” 

Automation will transform the workplace for everyone. We should prepare for the future by identifying activities that are more vulnerable to automation. This can provide awareness around how we need to better adapt to change, leading to more efforts in reskilling the workforce by building knowledge and competencies that a robot cannot replace.

N³ Innovation’s mission is to help corporate clients create measurable enterprise value by inventing the future. Clients have generated millions of dollars of revenue in new markets, with new products and new technologies. 

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