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Do industrial robots contribute to unemployment?

Carolyn Mathas
6/20/2012 03:48 PM EDT

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TFCSD
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re: Do industrial robots contribute to unemployment?
TFCSD   7/16/2012 5:58:21 AM
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With employers, everything they do contributes to unemployment, so why not robots?

Tiger Joe
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re: Do industrial robots contribute to unemployment?
Tiger Joe   7/3/2012 10:37:23 PM
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Part of the marketability of a machine is the public's acceptance of replacing a human to do what one deems to be a repetative task. I would not want, for a second, a machine to work on my mouth. Machines working on things is one thing, machines working on humans is another.

BobSnyder
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re: Do industrial robots contribute to unemployment?
BobSnyder   6/27/2012 4:11:29 PM
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"repetitive mindless jobs" I worked in a factory for a year before attending college. I got to know a lot of the people who worked there. Many of them took pride in their work and found it satisfying. Just because a task is repetitive, that doesn't mean it is mindless. How many cavities has your dentist filled in the past week? Perhaps someday we will have robots that replace dental hygienists. A robot that is smart enough to remove plaque from the teeth is just one step away from filling cavities. And if that happens, I am sure that people will begin to refer to dentistry as a "repetitive mindless job". Whenever a machine can do a person's job better/cheaper/faster, that person's job is in jeopardy. Personally, I would love to have a home appliance that would clean my teeth every day as well as my dental hygienist does once every six months. If such a machine is ever invented and commercially successful, then my hygienist will probably lose her "repetitive mindless job". I just don't think this is anything new. When I was a kid in the 1970's, the newspaper Help Wanted section had many listings for typesetters. The phone companies employed lots of switchboard operators. Those jobs went away a long time ago. In the early 1900's, the US coal mining industry employed about 640K people. Today we are mining twice as much coal with 80K people. That's a 16x improvement in productivity, but it's also a loss of over 500K jobs. There is no doubt that technology made those workers redundant. But nobody would advocate returning to 1920's mining technology. Engineers are constantly finding ways to to automate the "mindless repetitive" parts of our jobs. But every time that happens, it means that fewer people can accomplish the same amount of work.

punkfeetpete
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re: Do industrial robots contribute to unemployment?
punkfeetpete   6/22/2012 3:53:49 PM
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Technology like a hammer can be used to build or for nasty things. Creation of the cotton-jinn was a robot eliminating cotton seeds that was previously done by slaves. This allowed more slave to be used to pick cotton. It took this society a civil war and enough people with leisure-time to create a (robot) cotton picker to finally eliminate most cotton-pickers. Automated on-line learning today helps people (if they want) to design manual labor-saving devices that helps free people chained to production lines and the pitiful unions that feel they need to protect these repetitive mindless jobs.

CMathas
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re: Do industrial robots contribute to unemployment?
CMathas   6/21/2012 5:55:22 PM
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Yes, in any event, you're right.

DCH0
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re: Do industrial robots contribute to unemployment?
DCH0   6/21/2012 1:42:07 PM
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Robots are jut part of automation. Assembly that is not automated is generally outsourced to low labor cost countries. The jobs would not remain where they are in any event.

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