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Infernalism t1_ivqcgs9 wrote

I wonder what the numbers are for total jobs lost to automation as opposed to robots.


danielisbored t1_ivqnujd wrote

An industrial robot might replace one or two people each shift. So even across multiple shifts, you lose 6 people, at most, and probably have to add one back for machine maintenance. Whereas buying MS Excel took departments of 20+ MBAs and turned them into two or three people with associates doing the same thing. Same for medical records, drafting/technical drawing, and so many other. Most people would even think about the latter as "lost to automation" though.


simple_mech t1_ivr2bub wrote

I work in the Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) industry. We’re still doing the same thing today, 20-25 full-time employees down to <5 FTEs.


rulerofrules t1_ivrnxjd wrote

Back in my day things you couldn't reach just weren't for you, your kids today and your elevated platforms


JubalHarshawII t1_ivvnxt7 wrote

I have a friend in robotics and automation, he would go into a factory with 600 employees and when he left there would be 6. He finally quit because he couldn't live with himself anymore. But automation is coming for most of us, a structural change in society will be needed or we'll end up with a lot of ppl starving in the streets.


bane5454 t1_ivrgd4k wrote

Hi! I work in automation, and let me tell you, the answer is a resounding “not enough”.

Society is built around working for a wage, so as a result, it’s understandable that there’s a lot of people who are checked out from their jobs and only punch a clock. There’s also a lot of people who ended up replacing someone who was like this and find out painfully quick that they can do the entire job in 15 hours a week or less, but still have to work 40. Society isn’t ready for the level of automation that we have available today, mainly because society would be invariably damaged if automation started to actually replace people’s jobs at the level it’s capable of. I don’t see a future in which there’s both capitalism AND upward social class mobility as a result, but the saving grace for society rn is that most business owners are not automation experts.

That said, I’m confident that most companies could axe 30-40% of their workforce and still perform at the same level if not better, but I’d rather see a world in which automation and improvements in technology actually help all humans by allowing us to reclaim more of our time and lives. Basically, if the new guy can do the same job in 15 hours, let him, and make sure he gets paid the same salary as he would working 40. That’s what I’d like but the opposite is more likely - in 10-20 years, the wave will be at its crest and automation should be cutting down corporate spending by eliminating inefficiencies at an unprecedented rate. What will happen next?


CrashDeTrash t1_ivsmmug wrote

I'm also in automations field, and I have a scary amount of free time at work. However when something finally goes wrong, the entire production stops


8lackJack8lack t1_ivs6lra wrote

"That said, I’m confident that most companies could axe 30-40% of their workforce and still perform at the same level if not better"

So 30% of the world now isn't earning an income to spend at the companies that just automated their jobs.

I don't think those companies are gonna be performing at the same level profit wise.


TheOtherSarah t1_ivsjyry wrote

Like they said, you can pay people a full salary for getting the same job done quicker. Don’t fire 30%, have all of them in for 30% fewer hours


8lackJack8lack t1_ivsm8ns wrote

Tell that to the bosses in charge and watch them snicker and laugh.


[deleted] t1_ivs7yqb wrote



8lackJack8lack t1_ivsc92o wrote

The narrative of this post/article is that automation/robots will eventually replace a large percentage of human workers.

There won't be just another different job.

Companies racing to replace humans with automation to reduce costs (increase short term profits) are forgetting that their business also creates an income for the people they once employed.

A portion of that income spent at various businesses.

Automation is a race to self destruction.


emelrad12 t1_ivsoon3 wrote

That is true for companies that employ 100% of the entire workforce which is no one. For individual companies it is always the right choice to replace workers.


Studiousskittle t1_ivubuwl wrote

You do realize automation just makes most of the population useless. They will have plenty of time but zero wealth.


bane5454 t1_ivuculy wrote

Yes, that’s why I posed this as a question, but the likely outcome is a modern version of surfdom/feudalism, kind of like what happened in the industrial revolution


Wenuven t1_ivqnnye wrote

This was my thought. Assembly lines require a lot less humans than they did even 20 years ago.

AI CSR screening. HR portal tools. Financial planning / auditing software.

It all adds up but none of it would be "robots".


NortWind t1_ivr45zu wrote

In agriculture, which used to be over 90% of the population, human labor is almost entirely replaced by machines.


kyle4623 t1_ivrjzr6 wrote

John deer just revealed an automated tractor this year. Just think, buy the land, tractor and seed and it maintains itself!

We should embrace automation. Why delay the progress? We also need to do real work on social support systems. I'm not offering solutions but ignoring the bigger issue is the worst option.


Scrumbled_Uggs t1_ivrrlaa wrote

Yeah but pushing for a lot of automation before implementing social/infrastructural systems that distribute the benefits of said automation to the people whose lives it would be affecting is a great way to bring about a full blown dystopia


mastelsa t1_ivsh77m wrote

That's what happened during the industrial revolution and there were many worker revolts about it. I'm extremely pessimistic about our ability to learn from the past--we're going to go forward with automation and we can expect a lot of civil unrest and probably violence until we come out the other side either having settled on some solution like a UBI/vastly increased social safety nets, or having descended fully into corporate feudalism.


bane5454 t1_ivt6n8u wrote

Scary how we came to the same conclusion that those are the only two real paths forward. I’d like to say that feudalism isn’t the more likely of the two, but I’d be lying


Icarus367 t1_ivtddsm wrote

Except that even feudalism depends upon the serfs having work to do. What happens when the lord has no need of them because said work is being done by automation?


who_you_are t1_ivqnnm5 wrote

Then I also wonder how many it created (if we normalize it).

I mean, you need peoples to design the pieces, to manufacturers them, to ship them, to repair them, ...

Yes I know it still locally remove job which can suck.


AnOrdinary_Hippo t1_ivrjaxi wrote

Much less. If automation added total labor costs on top of the material cost of the robot we wouldn’t automate. You’d be paying more money to different people for the same thing.


who_you_are t1_ivrl0h0 wrote

I mean for sure it is likely to be less. One employee 40h a week versus somebody once in a while...

I'm just curious with the number of hours in a robot life that need humans to work into.


pipeguy07 t1_ivrb4xg wrote

Robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel.


[deleted] t1_ivqmzap wrote

Where do we draw the line with that? The cotton gin? The grist mill?


Mad_Aeric t1_ivrefqx wrote

Pretty much, yeah. The luddites were all about wrecking industrial looms and threshing machines back in the 1700s. The first clothing factory to use sewing machines was burned down in 1830. Hell, stockingers were taking issue with knitting frames all the way back in the 1500s for automating away their jobs.

Don't even get me started on grist mills. There's politics in there.


[deleted] t1_ivrgh7t wrote

>Don't even get me started on grist mills. There's politics in there

I imagine Marx might be mentioned a time or two hahaha


CitizenPremier t1_ivrprlk wrote

Restructuring the economic system to enforce the continuing benefit of all people rather than enrichment of the propertied class


1337_w0n t1_ivreyws wrote

I wonder when we're starting the count. Does an autoloom count? What about a cotton gin or a tractor?


CitizenPremier t1_ivroz0j wrote

I also wonder if they took into account how many people lost work rather than jobs. People working in call centers and factories are often technically working for another company and just basically get a call one day saying "Don't go to work today!" They wouldn't know why they lost their job, and technically, they wouldn't have lost their job (the staffing agency just stops paying them....).

Also it's not really clear in white collar contexts. Nobody gets told "well Steve's spreadsheet does your job now, we don't need you!" They just get a surprise desk cleaning meeting one day.


Zerogates t1_ivref8g wrote

Thank you, this is the more accurate metric rather than "robots" for whatever the goal of this was.


BaggyHairyNips t1_ivr2pdg wrote

I wonder how the number of jobs being lost now due to robots compares to those lost during the industrial revolution.


AnOrdinary_Hippo t1_ivrjje5 wrote

Probably less but keep in mind western standards of living dropped to their lowest point during the industrial revolution. Personally I don’t want to deal with even a fraction of that.


GrinderMonkey t1_ivut4r3 wrote

I came to say this. I was part of a tech support team where they had us write/log an extensive tech support trouble shooting tree. That diagnostic tool eventually made its way into an automated phone system, eliminating many reasonably paying jobs, and allowing others to be out sourced to cheaper labor. There were no technical robots involved.


whadisabout t1_ivqgdbc wrote

14% is still pretty significant


evemeatay t1_ivr28ak wrote

Yes, that’s actually higher than I would have guessed if you had asked me


PhogAlum t1_ivrmbvp wrote

For sure. My guess would’ve been much lower.


TheRealCaptainZoro t1_ivqh18w wrote

True that let's keep it coming! Humans make tools to make our lives easier and better and this is just another one we keep improving.


LibertyLizard t1_ivrh443 wrote

As long as the value created by those tools is shared equitably. But we all know it won’t be.


Skinny-Fetus t1_ivth45a wrote

Regardless of automation, nothing has ever been divided equally so that's too high a bar. Still, on a macro scale and time you'd expect robots would be a benefit since we are producing more goods for cheaper.

But in the short term it might not be cuz society may need time to adjust. Currently most people work and get paid for their work directly. Those who don't work, suffer. This is entirely different to how people would get paid in a mostly automated society. Such a society unlike any other in human history would not be doing most of its own work. Meaning if they benefit from this work they would do so for doing nothing to contribute to it. The same people who did not work and suffered for it, would now be the norm and have to benefit for doing nothing to contribute to their benefits. That's a massive shift.

I my head while society evolves to this new reality we will have a short time period where non workers being the norm will be combined with the traditional system of such people being punished. So you end up with a short time period where the average person is suffering cuz of automation


DTFH_ t1_ivur8g6 wrote

so like those in the 50s who thought their technological boom would give them their dreamed of Jetsons world? I think its more likely that will never occur for the worker as the global belt on resources tightens which will just ramp up instability. I love the dream but i'd have to be asleep.


Skinny-Fetus t1_ivuutrj wrote

>so like those in the 50s who thought their technological boom would give them their dreamed of Jetsons world?

Yes actually, just without the exaggeration. If someone in the 50s thought the technology boom would lead to the best time in human history in terms of lifespans, quality of life, peace, food security, medicine and much more, they were right.

About the world running out of resources, ya that does make me a bit pessimistic. Cuz hypothetically you would expect the earth to run out of resources at some point. I'm just not sure how close this is cuz most important reosurces like food production per capita is at its highest in history. But tbh I don't know much about other stuff.

But I would guess we would have to start getting resources off earth cuz id assume they would get scarce at some point if not soon.


OrderAccording t1_ivr2w79 wrote

Yeah honestly. When will the machines take my job so I can stop working?


gmaclean t1_ivqvwd8 wrote

Also if someone retires and is replaced by a robot, therefore one less job available… does that count?


jjsyk23 t1_ivquw5b wrote

Ancillary takeaway - holy cow 14% have lost jobs to robots?


novkit t1_ivrb99a wrote

14% have reported losing their jobs to robots. This wouldn't include all the jobs that never existed in the first place because some software automated the position away.


hawkwings t1_ivr4q9r wrote

In addition to workers being fired, you also have workers not being hired. Suppose that a company builds a new factory and hires 100 workers, but in the past, they would have hired 300 workers. That's 200 workers being replaced by robots without anyone being fired.


cutoffs89 t1_ivrh8aa wrote

Exactly what I was thinking. It seems like it would happen first at newly formed competitors that are starting off fresh with robots/automation, instead of simply "replacing" them at existing companies.


cr0ft t1_ivsgxaj wrote

Robots and technology aren't the enemy.

Having jobs and being forced into wage slavery to survive is the enemy.

Our entire approach to society building, ie competition and capitalism, is just warped, and most people can't seem to see that at all.

Why don't we just jointly own the robots and let them do the scut work, and we can then kick back on the beach while the robot butler brings us cold drinks?


Gabatos t1_ivspr6r wrote

Till they rise up and gain sentience and we have a whole robot uprising debacle


kester76a t1_ivqe6li wrote

Depends on the job but anything which is small scale or bespoke means they're not cost effective. Automation isn't new but a designed and built mass capacity machine will easily out perform a robot in most cases.


Environmental-Use-77 t1_ivrdtfl wrote

Robots make more efficient consumers. They consume twice as much alcohol. Eventually all humans will be replaced by robots.


21anddrunk t1_ivr0vrz wrote

Robots is diff than robotic processes. A lot of stuff is automated. ATMs took away the need for bank tellers.


r0botdevil t1_ivr1i57 wrote

I wouldn't have even guessed it was at 14% yet, but it's also only getting started. I wouldn't be surprised if the number is up to 47% or higher within the next decade or two.


laustcozz t1_ivsykkc wrote

This is a ridiculous way of looking at things. I worked in automation for decades. If my company gets a new contract, and we set up a new line that would have required twice as many workers 25 years ago, no one can point at it and say they "lost their job" to the robots...but the humans were replaced by robots nonetheless.

The problem with our society is that we aren't distributing the gains from automation. Filling our workforce with robots shouldn't be cutting the number of people employed, it should be cutting the hours everyone has to work for the same pay.


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l397flake t1_ivqmslj wrote

How about the actual number instead of a %.


gerberag t1_ivr4u4i wrote

Not just robotics, but easily more than 50% to automation.

Imagine going back to all paper hospital records.

Less paperwork means fewer paper pushers.


justafang t1_ivr9vmm wrote

Um. 14% is significant. But its mot 47%


ImgursThirdRock t1_ivs5bos wrote

Yeah. People might be getting replaced, because robots count better.


xgorgeoustormx t1_ivrekog wrote

It’s because most companies have slashed staff and replaced them with effort from the workforce they kept. Automation also costs money, and the companies creating automation know their tech is being used to replace peoples jobs, so they know what it’s worth, and they charge as much for implementing it.


cutoffs89 t1_ivrgrdg wrote

Seems like it would be newly formed competitors that would be starting fresh with robots/automation instead of simply "replacing" them at existing businesses.


trinlayk t1_ivri9vf wrote

A place where I used to work the call center has outsourced customer service to a for profit prison…

Not robots or automation, but… And they’re using scripts we wrote having been told it was for a “training guide”.


Rynox2000 t1_ivrit5x wrote

Is this measuring actual robots, or automation in any of its forms?


SpecificFail t1_ivrpxw4 wrote

Unsure if this accounts for businesses that were already reducing staff or had lost staff in the last few years and which have gone to automation in order to retain similar levels of productivity. It isn't that people are being fired for a robot to take over, just that more of the tasks that would have been done by a person are now being done by a machine.


jezwel t1_ivsrhgm wrote

This is us. Can't hire enough bodies to do the job, so automation and better self-service systems are the go.

I just had some dev time to get some automation done, saving 100+ person hours per month. The ROI on that is about 2 months.

I expect to lose more people in the next year and they won't be replaced, trying to get as much automation as I can.


thetallartist t1_ivrsji6 wrote

Oh it’ll be 47% eventually. At least low paying simple jobs.

Just look at self checkout lines… not a “robot” but the same outcome.

Jobs are definitely being made obsolete, just not necessarily by “robots”


GagOnMacaque t1_ivsds91 wrote

I use to replace jobs before. No one knows about jobs that are automated before anyone gets hired.


IPadeI t1_ivseg4n wrote

"only 14%". Do you know how many jobs that is..?


squidking78 t1_ivskq9q wrote

It’s the rate of change that’s the important bit. And the rate of new areas for human jobs.


palox3 t1_ivsnds0 wrote

because we don't have general artificial intelligence and general purpose robots. this will change completely in next 20 years


trancepx t1_ivspyvv wrote

This study was generated by A.I. no doubt... Haha... We're in danger.


TheRealPasanac t1_ivstb6b wrote

Can we make robot directors,managers and politicians?


RealRutz t1_ivszf8m wrote

Just the easy mindless jobs that people are worth more than anyways. Gonna be a rough transition away from laborers to whatever we do next.


boshlop t1_ivt23ls wrote

14% isnt low.

"only" is a weird addition to the title.

jobs replaced wont be equal across education and job type either. it will be replacing certain jobs... so 14% of jobs gone, all likely in the same sectors where we have the tech for it, leading to them people needing to compete for jobs that dont really exist anymore or move into something they dont know/retain.

it should be no suprise that "only 14%" seems way closer to half estimated when its not just "jobs", its more like sectors been taken by robots.


knowlessman t1_ivthfd8 wrote

14% of surveyed current-day workers have lost their jobs to robots.

What about the former workers who had already lost their jobs? There have been many rounds of robotic automation going back decades. The first generation of workers to lose their jobs to robots would largely be retired by now anyway.

What about the roles never created? Remember, banks, hospitals, etc. used to have rooms full of people to do all the accounting. Hundreds of people for one company, and nowadays it’s usually 1-5 people. That happened so long ago that most people in the workforce today never worked at a time when those jobs existed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m solidly “yay automation let’s put the machines to work and figure out a better way for us to live” camp, but I think surveying current day workers about whether they have lost a job for this reason is not a good method for finding out how many workers have actually lost jobs for this reason.


SBBurzmali t1_ivtj1da wrote

I think they are missing the expanded version of this question. If a robot does a job that humans have done in the past, but which wasn't currently being done by a human, has a job been lost to a robot?


karma_virus t1_ivqlzd5 wrote

Similar complaint with AI art replacing the unemployed artists.


StressedCephalopod t1_ivs0x2g wrote

I'm not even an artist, but the very concept of "AI art" and the fact that people even refer to it as "art" just annoys the piss out of me. Until AI can muster true emotion... it's a contradiction in terms.


owjfaigs222 t1_ivr8a4n wrote

It's funny that some people see it as a problem. I'm not a fan of jobs in general the less there is the better.


GrumpyMiddleAgeMan t1_ivsz6k9 wrote

The problem is that without UBI or another similar mechanism, it's more poverty, crimes, social issues, etc...


jbdi6984 t1_ivrn4ow wrote

I work in trade. I sooner expect a mad max dystopia


pirate135246 t1_ivs11ec wrote

If your job was lost to automation then your job was redundant. Learn in demand skills and stop complaining


leo58 t1_ivsuxeq wrote

Must be black and brown robots.


khamelean t1_ivt0ly6 wrote

As someone who develops robots to do other peoples jobs, I say hazaah! More please!!


[deleted] t1_ivqlv45 wrote



Sweet_Baby_Cheezus t1_ivqm9xy wrote

One person can maintain dozens of robots.


R0ADHAU5 t1_ivr7xh7 wrote

One maintenance department can maintain dozens of robots if we’re talking about a medium+ size facility.

One of the major benefits of industrial robots are that they can operate 24/7. That means 24/7 staffing, and on call support.

One single tech will not be able to do that effectively unless that is literally their only responsibility.

Maintenance specialists like that are very common budget cuts, so they often have to do 2 or 3 additional jobs.

Now the robots are left with new people who are all learning on the fly. They often have no robotics experience but are the only people who accept the low wages typically offered. Now the company needs several electrical engineers to deal with the automation, and process engineers to try and “optimize” everything so it’s easier for the remaining workforce.

All of that is very expensive. It tends to be cheaper to just staff maintenance properly.


caltheon t1_ivrhvxu wrote

Highly Skilled jobs vs Low Skilled Jobs


KittenKoder t1_ivqjt33 wrote

14% seems a bit high too. I wonder if they filtered out for only necessary jobs it might be a lot lower.


grahag t1_ivqromc wrote

Who determines necessary jobs? I'm pretty sure that something that subjective is hard to measure.

Jobs that are in the pipe for automation to replace 80% of what they do include Architects, Lawyers, Writers, Teachers, and Doctors...

It's likely that I won't be replaced by automation any time soon, likely until I retire, BUT, I can see automation reducing my workload on all kinds of things from account creation, to ticket entry, and troubleshooting. I fix things, but I don't know if I'll always be needed to do that.

And when robots with good vision, dexterity, and mobility actually come into the workplace, it's likely I won't be needed for hardly any of what I do now.


KittenKoder t1_ivqz5x2 wrote

"Will people suffer if your job was not filled?" Pretty objective.


myusernamehere1 t1_ivr4zn8 wrote

Suffering is subjective. Someone might claim to suffer if there was nobody to take their order at Mcdonalds, and its not clear that you would label such a job as "necessary."


KittenKoder t1_ivr61s2 wrote

People who work fast food provide a much more valuable service than those who work in the office.


myusernamehere1 t1_ivrdr0q wrote

Like the corporate offices who manage fast food chains for example? Which office jobs in particular do you think are not valuable?