How will automation affect the future of work?

Last week we were talking about the design of the warehouse and the importance it had in terms of efficiency.

Nowadays, the role of warehouses has evolved from being mere facilities dedicated to the storage of goods to becoming centers that provide service and support to the organization. Therefore, designing a warehouse or a distribution center effectively has a fundamental impact on the overall success of the logistics chain.

Going deeper into the term of efficiency we reach the point of automation. Those companies that can afford to automate their logistics centers agree on the many advantages they offer (despite the high initial investment, which can be amortized over the years).

In the following video we can see the operations of an automatic warehouse located in Murcia (and some of these advantages):

“This type of installation simplifies the warehouse management process, improving the management of stock and reducing the errors in the preparation of the order”, which results in an increase in the overall efficiency of the system. In addition, it reduces the use of the space and the staff requirements.

Accordingly, the debate arises as how automation (and especially the advantages associated with it) can affect society, in terms of employment. Much is being said recently about the fourth industrial revolution, universal basic income, and other concepts associated with the development of technology and its impact on the labor market.

I would emphasize this last paragraph of an article by The Economist that I found highly interesting:

“So who is right: the pessimists (many of them techie types), who say this time is different and machines really will take all the jobs, or the optimists (mostly economists and historians), who insist that in the end technology always creates more jobs than it destroys? The truth probably lies somewhere in between. AI will not cause mass unemployment, but it will speed up the existing trend of computer-related automation, disrupting labour markets just as technological change has done before, and requiring workers to learn new skills more quickly than in the past. Mr Bessen predicts a “difficult transition” rather than a “sharp break with history”. But despite the wide range of views expressed, pretty much everyone agrees on the prescription: that companies and governments will need to make it easier for workers to acquire new skills and switch jobs as needed. That would provide the best defence in the event that the pessimists are right and the impact of artificial intelligence proves to be more rapid and more dramatic than the optimists expect.”


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