Technology is rapidly advancing by the year, it appears impossible to keep up. New advancements in technology have an impact on most aspects of life, especially in the workforce. Since the beginning of time, human workers have been replaced by machines, and the cycle is never ending. The change of technology over time has negatively impacted the workforce. Technology taking over human jobs has been a problem since as early as the 1700s.
New innovations reduce the need for people in the workforce, “Since the industrial Revolution began in the 1700s, improvements in technology have changed the nature of work and destroyed some types of jobs in the process” (Rotman). When new technology is brought to the workforce, many jobs surpass each other. According to Thompson, the Agricultural revolution was the cause of the farming industry, which later caused workers to move into factories. Old technology is always replaced by new and innovative technology.
Machinery has greatly changed since these times and the effects of new technological advancements have become more severe as time continues to go on. Workers who are being replaced by technology have always tried to stop the progression of new advancements in the workforce. “The real Luddites, [a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology] of the early 1800s, were uneducated working people who destroyed textile machinery and other symbols of advancing technology”(Mabry and Sharplin). Automation, and for that matter, any disruptive change in the workforce has often been viewed by workers with fear.
Although, technology has drastically changed since the 1700-1800s, the idea that technology leaves workers unemployed in a common theme that has not changed during the 21st century. Unemployment is one of the leading disadvantages to advancements of technology in the workforce. According to Rogoff, the fear that increasing technology will go hand in hand with unemployment has been a fear since the Industrial Age. Advancements in technology are rapidly speeding up, and this is a big reason why workers are becoming unemployed.
The pace of modern technological change is so rapid that many workers, unable to adjust, will simply become obsolete” (Rogoff). If workers cannot keep up to new modifications in the work environment, this may cause them to lose their jobs. As machines are continuing to progress, people are needed in the workforce less. “Technological progress is eliminating the need for many types of jobs and leaving the typical worker worse off than before”(Rotman). According to Thompson, new industries in the workforce are becoming very efficient.
Machines are beneficial to certain tasks and this decreases the need for many workers. Some people believe that men in the workforce are capable of overcoming technologies effect to leave workers unemployed. According to the former president, John F. Kennedy, “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” (Thompson). The idea that technology will overcome every single job in the workforce may be extreme but new technological advances do cause an extreme increase in unemployment.
Computer technologies are changing the types of jobs available… computers have increasingly taken over such tasks as bookkeeping, clerical work, and repetitive production jobs in manufacturing” (Rotman). Technology is beginning to take control of jobs with repetitive actions, therefore leaving workers without a job. If a machine can do repetitive actions the same or better than humans, employees will began to choose the cheaper and more efficient option. A new form of technology that is negatively affecting the workforce is robots.
The development of robots is a major cause of unemployment. The idea that robots would take over the workforce has been about for some time. “ In 1983, the Upjohn Institute from Employment Research forecast the existence of 50,000 to 100,000 industrial robots in the United States… resulting in the net loss of some 100,000 jobs” (Mabry and Sharplin). Robots are able to perform tasks that humans do but are able to do them at a quicker pace. Robots are able to perform tasks quick, but humans are more reliable.
According to Thompson, people are more dependable because workers are able to focus on quantity as well as quality. Robots and machines only care about getting the job completed, they have no moral judgment. Employers need to be able to think about what will benefit the general consumer, not just the speed of creation. It is believed that robots can be a good addition to the workforce but they are leaving people jobless, “Factory managers are already looking for opportunities to replace employees with robots” (Rogoff).
The desire for robots in the workforce has been rapidly increasing. Rotman expresses that about three hundred and twenty thousand robots have been sold since 2014, and the number is only increasing. Robots are generally new to the workforce, but as technology advances, robots may be able to do harder tasks which will cause more workers to be left unemployed. Our work environment and ethic is causing the uprising of robots. “Our current industrial policy creates jobs that are, lower skilled and routine eventually to be replaced by robots and computers” (Mabry and Sharplin).
New advances in technology such as robots are causing mass unemployment which later contributes to if a company is able to stay in business or not Technologies newest innovations, robots, are causing mass unemployment, but some still come to the conclusion that robots are beneficial to the workforce. Atkinson expresses that robots are not the cause of unemployment because, since robots have been introduced into the workforce, productivity levels have actually decreased.
According to MIT scholars, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, “workers are losing the race against the machine, a fact reflected in today’s employment statistics” (Atkinson). The speed of technology is too fast for workers. As technology changes over time, more jobs are becoming unavailable due to the fact that fewer workers are necessary in the workforce. According to Brian Arthur, a researcher at Xerox Palo Alto, “Digital versions of human intelligence are increasingly replacing even those jobs once thought to require people. It will change every profession in ways we have barely seen yet” (Rotman).
The most recent development in technology has been the creation of robots. According to Rotman, many white collar jobs that are repetitive have been taken over by new machinery or have completely disappeared. Many jobs in the fields of customer service have been destroyed entirely. Numerous businesses are unsuccessful when technology progresses because of the reason that they are not able to keep up with new changes. “People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up” (Rotman).
Workers are not able to learn new skills at the same speed as new advancements. In the 21st century, new technology is created regularly, and workers are expected to keep up with new developments. It appears near impossible to keep up with technologies quick pace, and this is an immense cause of unemployment. Businesses have been shown to completely shut down because of new technology, but this isn’t something that happens daily. It is believed that technology does not have a negative impact on the workforce because it doesn’t completely take jobs ut rather, “it would take form of even shorter workdays, shorter work- weeks, and fewer working members in the family, as it has throughout history” (Mabry and Sharplin). By limiting workers work hours this negatively affects their income levels and causes stress at home. Shorter workdays, and workhours are just the start. If technology continues to progressively get more advanced, these circumstances will become more severe. The idea that robots will completely take over human jobs is very common.
A solution to this is that a common ground should be set where technology and work can interact together, but not to the point where one extremely overpowers the other. “People and robots working together can happen much more quickly than robots simply replacing humans” (Rotman). An example of this is Rethink Robotics’ robots Baxter. Rotman shows examples of how Baxter was created to work with people, not overpower them. According to the creator of Baxter, Rodney Brooks, “ The idea… is to have the robots take care of dull, repetitive jobs that no one wants to do” (Rotman).
Robots are not able to replace workers overnight; at this point in time robots only do repetitive jobs in the workforce. If workers and machinery can integrate smoothly, before robots increase their skills, robots will be able to help workers rather than taking away their jobs. An additional solution for workers who are frightened for their future employment is to let technology be used to their benefit. Any interference in the work force, especially technology will cause some workers to fail, and others to succeed.
Many professions will always be needed such as police, nurses, teachers, receptionists, and more. Their methods may change but their jobs will be needed. Although technology leaves many people unemployed and takes away countless other jobs, entrepreneurs have a chance to thrive. Thompson expresses that the 21st century is the time of technology, which makes starting new and part time businesses simpler for workers. Technology is the leading cause of unemployment, but workers need to be motivated to find new jobs.
Technology has always changed and innovated, and workers should be able to realize that change will always appear when in the workforce. Thompson argues that when workers become unemployed, they lose motivation and end up sulking in their homes. Instead, workers who become unemployed should find motivation to get back into the workforce and adapt to change. Mabry and Sharplin express that if a worker tries to return to their previous profession after being replaced by technology, they will see themselves having to pay disproportionate wages.
Workers should also have the ability to get training in new advancements in technology. This would help to keep workers up to date with new developments which will benefit the productivity of work as well as keeping these workers employed. An implication to this solution is that retraining workers while trying to keep up with competition revolving around changes in technology, will take up time. More time will be taken to teach workers how to work with new technologies rather than using this time to make products for consumers.
Rapid technological change spotlights the requirement of the workforce to have the cabability to adapt to changing technologies and shifting product demand. Since the early 1700s up until now technology is always rapidly increasing. Technology always has and always will have a great impact on the workforce. New advancements such as machinery and robots have a negative effect on the workforce. Overall increases in technological innovations leave workers without a job, and cause businesses to be entirely destroyed. As technology progresses over time, the workforce is negatively affected.