How will robots affect human employment?

  • 11:04 - 2018/10/12

The rapid development of AI technology and robotics has sparked concern about future society, when robots will replace humans in many jobs. 


Dr Pham Quang Cuong from Nanyang University in Singapore has announced the publication of his research work ‘The impact of robotics and automation on working conditions and employment’ in IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine.

On one hand, a robot can replace humans to undertake heavy and dangerous works. The use of welding robots in modern automobile production lines, for example, can help reduce risks for workers. 

On the other hand, as robots automatically perform tasks, workers in production lines will become redundant. As a result, the unemployment rate will go up.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) warned that low-paid workers in Asian countries will face the risk of losing jobs because of automatic production. The proportion of these workers is 70 percent in Vietnam.

There are many UBI versions suggested with different amounts of money and source of income. The amount of money will be determined by the wealth of countries and people’s living conditions.

Cuong has suggested measures that he believes need to be implemented comprehensively to ease the negative impact that robots and automation may have on humans’ careers.

First of all, it is necessary to improve the education level, so that people can undertake more difficult work in the automation era. It would be better to have training programs which help laborers learn and practice new necessary skills. 

According to Cuong, the programs could be run with a private-public partnership sponsor.

Second, the government should consider setting up an UBI (universal basic income) fund which would allow all citizens in the country to receive certain amounts of money, periodically and unconditionally, to maintain their lives. They will not be forced to work or look for jobs.

There are many UBI versions suggested with different amounts of money and source of income. The amount of money will be determined by the wealth of countries and people’s living conditions.

Cuong’s research mentioned taxation on robots as a solution to the anticipated redundancy caused by automation.

The point initially raised by Bill Gates was to tax large corporations which use robots and take human jobs. The tax collections will be used to compensate sacked workers, or retrain them for other job opportunities.

However, the idea has faced criticism from some economists. They said robots are just like technologies which can cause redundancy, including Bill Gates’ software. These technologies are not taxed.

Cuong said people and machines will work together. Dangerous work will be undertaken by robots, while workers will gather strength in fields that require creativity, social skills and emotional intelligence.

Source: Vietnamnet

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