The Human Workforce vs Robotic Automation

2 March 2021

We’ve all seen movies where machines—or more specifically AI—are taking over the planet and overthrowing mankind. And as technology and innovations continue to further progress, people are starting to wonder whether their fears that artificial intelligence and automation are in fact phasing out humans—at least in the workplace—are warranted. With much of the manufacturing industry relying more and more on CNC Automation, does this mean the human aspect of our workforce will soon be obsolete?

Should We Be Worried About Robots and Automation?

It does sound like a legitimate cause for concern, especially for machinists, but the reality is far simpler and less dramatic. After all, automated machinery has long been creeping into manufacturing and job shop floors, including virtual assistants, autonomous cars, IoT, 3D printing, etc. What we have already done is embrace robots or robotics whether at home or at work.

Automation and How It Impacts the Workforce

In the last year, who would have ever thought that the human population would be forced to stay home? If there is anything that the incident has taught us, it is that humans are still a vital part of the workplace. Although there were and continue to be large chunks of desk jobs being accomplished remotely, manual labor on the other hand still requires the physical presence of human workers.

In many nations, it was evident that without these essential workers, many economies would suffer immensely. This resulted in industries clamoring to outfit their workers and workplaces with the mandated health and safety protocols in order for their shops to resume much-needed operations.

This proves that even the most high-tech industries need humans in order to operate. If anything, CNC Automation on job shop floors will create more opportunities. Rather than think of these machines as taking over human jobs, they should be thought of as supplemental. The presence of robots pushes us to create work that is a cut above the mechanical labor that these machines can produce.

According to ITIF - "Faster productivity growth in many functions and industries that involve moving or transforming physical things will be spurred by better and cheaper robots. Robots are already driving productivity.4 Investment in robots contributed to 10 percent of GDP growth per capita in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries from 1993 to 2016, and there is a 0.42 correlation between a country’s wage-adjusted manufacturing robot adoption (see below) and growth in productivity between 2010 and 2017.5"

CNC Automation Is Meant to Make Manual Labor Easier for Humans

At its very core, automation was developed in order to assist humans—to ease the load of having to do actions that are extremely repetitive and mundane. Robots make the workplace more efficient in order for the human workforce to focus on tasks that offer more value to the business than just loading and unloading, keeping grid plates filled, etc. This is what the machines are for.

The marketing and sales sectors understand that automation is not about robots taking the place of humans. Instead, it is geared towards the creation of a more personalized approach. It helps us work smarter and provides us with a more positive view of how our careers can evolve further thanks to the possibilities that manufacturing automation solutions offers us.

The Human Workforce and Where It Stands With Automation

It shouldn’t take a global crisis for us to see that the lack of a workforce can create ripples in the supply and demand chain. But this is exactly what happened. The once taken for granted job shop workers, factory employees, manufacturing staff, etc. held just as much importance as doctors, nurses, and even governments.

Even with automation and robotic machinery in place, the bottom line is that humans are still very much a needed part of the equation. We do not need to choose one over the other; a combination of both (automation and employees) creates jobs and output that is efficient and effective.