This post is a short piece to share my thoughts on the impact of robots on jobs. I believe that robots are coming and they’re coming fast.
The benefit of advances in robotics is that they allow us to automate many tasks that were once done by humans. The repetitive tasks with clear inputs and outputs get done faster, and we’re able to focus our effort as humans on tasks that require more creativity. The result is that we’re more productive.
A common downside put forth for advances in robotics is that these advances are going to put a lot of people out of work. While this is a concern, it ignores the key positive outcome produced by robots. As stated above, robots allow us to focus our energy on more creative endeavors. Finding new ways for us to put our time to good use (in other words, finding new work) is a great example of an endeavor that we can pursue with our newly found creative time. As John F. Kennedy said “If men have the talent to invent new machines that put men out of work, they have the talent to put those men back to work.”
The work of humans will look very different than what it looked like in the past. However, I’m very confident that we’ll find new ways to put our time to good use. In fact, since robots are going to be taking care of the more repetitive tasks, our work is likely to begin looking less like work and more like leisure. And that’s a good thing.