Has Industrial Automation Had A Positive Economic Effect?

1942 words - 8 pages

In this modern society, industrial manufacturing has started the transitions from human labors to automation, especially in developed countries such as Japan, Germany, China and the United States. The usage of robots in technology and industry are common now. According to Rotman, due to the industrial automation in the United States and China, there has been a decline in the number of human labour in the industry today as compared to the 1997 (Rotman, 2013). Japan is the leading country that produces and uses robots the most, followed by Germany and some European countries. Sittig said that as of today Japan holds control of no less than 40% of the robot population worldwide and $50 million has been invested on the development of the technology (Sittig) SINCE WHEN?. Guizzo stated that 8.6 million robots are registered by 2008 (Guizzo, 2010). It is necessary for modern production system to solve the high amount of orders and quantity demanded problems by applying automation. Moreover, automation could perform a delicate task with inconsiderable amount of error but the case is not always to show solving and showing a technological sophistication (Wickens, 2004). Union leaders claim automation causes mass unemployment while businessmen said it is one of the ways to remain competitive (Rose, 1965). Robots are able to perform and do tasks that human cannot do, or impossible to do. There are several advantages for using automation such as; saving costs, increase productivity and increase workers’ safety in the workplace. While reducing employment, hurt small businesses and less flexibility are the negative effects of automation. Jason Dorrier stressed questions; "are machines really replacing humans’ faster now than in the early 19th or 20th century; and are workers really falling behind at a greater rate?" According to Moshe Vardi, a computer science professor at Rice University, “it’s reasonable to believe intelligent machines may one day replace human workers almost entirely and in the process put millions out of work permanently.” This essay will argue whether industrial automation had a positive economic effect or not.
The first benefit of automation is the reduction of costs. A shift to industrial automation from using unskilled labors to produce goods results in lower production costs (Lene Kromann). For instance, countries like Japan and Germany rely heavily on automation to suppress the limited and expensive labor cost. Moreover, labor’s salary is considered to be the most expensive part of the production system (CITATION). Since the total cost of the labors are not only salaries, but also insurance, vacations, turnover and the costs to recruit or retrain the replacement workers, these calculations might make the owners to think that robots are cheaper and do not need all those things. Every year, robots become cheaper and cheaper compare to labors where they demand higher wages from time to time. According to a research by United Nations...

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