Robots = More Jobs?
- November 9, 2017
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In an age of RPA – and also actual robots – is automation really creating more jobs? That’s the argument a recent AP article by Christopher Rugaber makes in “E-commerce Creating More Jobs“:
When the robots came to online retailer Boxed, dread came too: The familiar fear that the machines would take over, leaving a trail of unemployed humans in their wake.
“I had a lot of people asking me, ‘What is going to happen to us?’” says Veronica Mena, a trainer for the e-commerce startup.
And yet, instead of cutting, Boxed added a third shift… so what gives? The author proposes an interesting theory:
Jobs have been lost at storefront retailers, which have suffered under the e-commerce onslaught. But worries about a “retail apocalypse” wiping out many of the nation’s 16 million retail jobs have missed a more important trend: E-commerce actually leads to more jobs by paying people to do things we used to do ourselves.
When people shop online, tasks that consumers once did — driving to a store, searching through aisles for a product, bringing it to a cashier and paying for it —are now done by warehouse employees and truck drivers. People spend less time shopping than in the past, research shows.
Maybe too early to be sure about the outcome, but it sure is food for thought and a thought process I hadn’t seen laid out anywhere before this.