Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) make production faster, more reliable, and cheaper. But are humans to be left standing? 7,000 employees worldwide were surveyed for the automatica Trend Index 2018.
According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the density of robots in manufacturing industries is increasing relentlessly. On average, in 2016, there were 74 robots for every 10,000 employees. One year prior to this, the figure was 66. With 309 units, Germany is in third place after Korea (631 units) and Singapore (488 units). On the whole, about 1.8 million industrial robots are in operation in factories around the world. The IFR predicts that this will rise to almost 3 million by 2020.
So far, this has not caused any job losses. However, it is indisputable that in the future many jobs will be axed as a result of automation and robotics but, on the other hand, many new jobs will be created. But opinions are very divided with regard to the speed at which this will occur.
More confident automatica Trend Index
Most of the 7,000 employees from the US, Asia, and Europe who were surveyed within the scope of the automatica Trend Index 2018, see a bright future for themselves. About 70 percent of the participants in the study believe that, on the whole, human skills combined with the skills that are typical for robots improve production.
64 percent are in favor of artificial intelligence (AI) being used in human-machine teams. 73 percent see an advantage in being able to operate robots with voice commands or touchpads.
Training lagging behind
However, the employees would like to see more involvement from politics, business, and science for their own initial and continued training. The majority (68 percent) see the new collaboration with robots as an opportunity to advance their careers. Fifty percent also expect to get more qualified, better-paid jobs.
automatica Trend Index 2018
For the automatica Trend Index 2018, 1,000 employees in the US, China, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, and Italy were asked by a market research institute in a representative survey via an online panel in January 2018 how robots and digitization are changing the workplace.
From June 19-22, 2018, visitors to the special exhibition from VDMA Robotics + Automation, “Humans in the Smart Factory” (Hall B4, Booth 338), at the Munich exhibition center can get an idea of the roles that humans and machines will play in the digital factory of the future.