I'm not talking about retirement! I'm talking about your job - and everyone's job - becoming obsolete. A future where robots take over sounds like the stuff out of a scary "Terminator" movie, but could it actually be a good thing?
That's the issue being debated in companies across the United States. Whether or not to automate positions like banker, food and beverage servers, and office clerks is not a question of if it will happen, but rather, when it will happen. According to a national survey by the job-hunting website CareerBuilder conducted last year, over 20% of companies decided to replace part of their workforce with new technologies.
Besides the fact that robots would cut salary costs, having electronically operated companies can also cut costs like work-related injuries and lawsuits. Companies in the United States pay employees an average total of $170 billion a year for on-site injuries.
But getting rid of workers across the country could lead to a ton of infrastructural issues like determining tax brackets and allotting government funds to certain companies. And replacing humans with electronics doesn't always turn out how it's supposed to.
Of the 20% of the companies that replaced people with machinery, 35% of them had to hire the humans back "because the technology didn't work out." Cutting down on human jobs can also have a profound effect on workers' mental state.
"Atlantic" senior editor Derek Thompson wrote about Youngstown, Ohio, a city that has replaced residents' jobs at an historic rate. In his story Thompson says, "Depression, spousal abuse and suicide all became much more prevalent; the caseload of the area's mental-health center tripled within a decade."
I think there's something to be said about a real, live person working for a company but we all might be obsolete in a few decades. What type of effect do you think replacing people with machines will have on our society? I want to know, so leave me a comment below!