Thanks to Supply Chain Digest for promoting this study by Oxford Economics. Read the article here for a synopsis of its findings: Supply Chain News: Oxford Economics Says Robots Benefits will Outweigh Cons
Basically, it says robots will greatly raise productivity and take jobs with a repetitive aspect, displacing workers toward jobs with high cognitive content. But there may be local dislocations that will be hard for some people. We’d better prepare for that and put in measures to alleviate the suffering, if we care about people and their lives. They think about 1.6 jobs will be lost for every job robots take. but GNP may grow 5% as a result. China is the major user of robots now, and the revolution promises to be harder on them than any other country as it looks now.
It isn’t clear from the summary whether the 1.6 jobs lost will be found again in other sectors, such as service and sales, support of the robots, or technical work like fixing the robots. Nonetheless this kind of assessment is an eye opener to concerns we may have in our economy and political world for quite a while.
The report is available here: How robots change the world | Oxford Economics
Or here: Oxford Economics 2019 Report – How Robots Change the World
July 2, 2019 in Advanced Computing, Labor Economics, Logistics, Managerial Econ, Production Operations, Strategy, Sustainability
Tagged automation, economics, infrastructure, Jobs, technology
Ben Meyer in American Shipper has summarized a McKinsey report on port automation and port modernization. One interesting point in the discussion is that port operators are actually not seeing productivity gains in automated ports. Throughputs are actually slower. They have some explanations for this, but it is a real problem.
It struck me that automation is often seen as going hand in hand with better visibility of cargoes in the port and readiness for delivery. to the extent that the software requires automation, there may be a correlation here that does not bode well in the medium term.
In the long term it may well turn out better, but meanwhile, the customer may suffer.
via Cost, operational challenges hinder port automation
December 13, 2018 in Logistics, Ports, Production Operations, Shipping, Strategy, Supply Chains
Tagged automation, infrastructure, performance, ports, productivity, technology
The headline is a gross misstatement of what this innovative startup is trying. They want to write software that makes existing trucks, perhaps with a few sensors added, able to self-drive on the freeways. A trucker will be in the cab at all times. This approach is much more likely to be practical soon; there’s almost no chance that drivers will be eliminated from the cabs of vehicles soon. Politicians and insurance companies won’t have it, nor will the trucking companies themselves; the liability issues are way too daunting.
At the autonomous driving startup Starsky Robotics, the present and future of U.S. employment ride in the same cab.
Source: These Truckers Work Alongside the Coders Trying to Eliminate Their Jobs – Bloomberg
You may need to log in to see the story. There’s a link to a great podcast in it, an interview with the leader of this company.
Innovation in the self-driving space is definitely to evolve into a standard set that we all will be able to use; the more tries the better, at this stage, to explore the realms of the possible.