Smart manufacturing does not always involve robots replacing people. Instead, robots should be viewed as enablers instead of disruptors, with productivity and efficiency enhanced by automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
More and more manufacturers are adapting to this reality in order to sustain their competitiveness. Nevertheless, it is a fact that people are still losing labour-intensive and time-consuming jobs to machines — in services as well as manufacturing.
Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan has said a “big number” of his staff will eventually lose their jobs to robots and other forms of technology. “It doesn’t matter if we as a bank will participate in these changes or not, it is going to happen,” he said at the “Banking in Transition” conference in Frankfurt last month.
The World Economic Forum forecast in its 2016 report, The Future of Jobs, that automation will lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020. These countries include Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
PricewaterhouseCoopers says as many as 38% of jobs in the US could be at potential risk of automation by the early 2030s, along with 35% in Germany, 30% in the UK and 21% in Japan.
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31 October 2017