Conventional wisdom has it that a coming onslaught of industrial robots will throw millions of current factory workers out of their jobs. The direst predictions envision whole classes of people permanently locked out of the working world.
As I detailed in one of my earliest articles, robots eliminating manufacturing jobs is nothing new. It’s been going on for decades. But as technological development accelerates and robots become better and cheaper, the risk to current employment is intensified. But that’s not the whole story. Some jobs will be eliminated, certainly – but some will be changed, and new ones will be created.
Nicola O’Byrne, Marketing Manager, Connected Motion and Robotics, at Analog Devices Inc. (ADI), has worked in the industrial automation world for over 20 years. Her current focus is helping companies with insights into how to manage their automation transitions. She thinks that some of the perceived threats are overblown, and that the real risk is in companies and workers failing to understand the challenges of the changes coming, and in the lack of preparation for the future of work.