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Robots can shift 20 million production jobs by 2030



Machines are expected to move around 20 million production jobs worldwide over the next decade, according to a report released Wednesday by Oxford Economics, a global forecast and quantitative analysis company.

That means 8.5% of worldwide workforce manufacturing can be offset by robots. The report also notes that the move to robots tends to generate new jobs as quickly as it automates them, but it can contribute to different income.

The use of robots is about to increase: At this time, every new robot installed is shifting 1.6 manufacturers on average, according to the Oxford Economics model.

Automation is not a new trend in production of course. The automotive industry, for example, used 43% of robots in the world in 201

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But robots are getting cheaper than many human workers, partly because of the falling costs of machines. The average unit price per robot has fallen 11% between 2011 and 2016, according to Oxford Economics. And they are able to work in more sophisticated processes and varied contexts. On top of this, demand for manufactured goods increases.

China provides a great opportunity for growth in automation. That country already accounts for a fifth of the world's industrial robots, where every third new one is installed there. Beijing "invests in robots to position itself as the global production leader," said Oxford Economics. By 2030, around 14 million robots could work in China, "dwarfing" the rest of the world, according to Oxford.

The effect on economic production can be enormous. Oxford Economics estimates that increased robotic installations to 30% over the current growth forecast by 2030 would bring that year to a 5.3% increase in worldwide GDP, or $ 4.9 billion. It is more than the projected size of Germany's GDP for that year.

So what's not to love? Robots will increase productivity and economic growth as well as stimulate industries that do not even exist yet. But Oxford Economics also warns that they will be seriously disruptive.

How automation can lead to inequality

A potential disadvantage for the robot revolution: Automation can increase the income difference.

"This great shift will not be evenly distributed throughout the world or on land," the report said. "Our research shows that the negative effects of robotization are disproportionately felt in lower income regions compared to higher income regions in the same country."

Employees who drive knowledge and innovation in the industry tend to be concentrated in larger cities, and these skills are more difficult to automate. Therefore, the urban areas will better relate to the increased automation, according to the report.

Overall, the increased use of automation will create new jobs at a rate comparable to the jobs that will be lost, nullifying the fear of permanent job destruction, according to the Oxford study. That said, the poorer regions who expect to lose most jobs will probably not take advantage of this new job because of a competency. This will lead to increased inequality in the revenue between cities and rural areas, and between regions.

"Automation will continue to drive regional polarization in many of the world's advanced economies, unevenly distributed benefits and costs across the population," said said.

  Robots find a new job: Skyscraper window slices

For policy makers this means they will have to think about how it Increased efficiency will keep up with the effect on different income. Some have already worked on automation in their political platforms. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who runs for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, recently said he was worried about what artificial intelligence and robotics "would mean to work people in this country," for example.

"We must have a long discussion to ensure that millions of workers are not thrown out on the streets because of robotics," he told a CNN town hall in February.

In the United States, Oregon, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana and North Carolina, the most vulnerable states are, according to Oxford Economics. This is because these states rely on the production of jobs that can disappear because of robots.

For example, in Oregon, "high dependence on production … and state exposure to globally competitive sectors, mean workers are vulnerable to rapid technological development," according to the Oxford study.

On the contrary, the spectrum, Hawaii, DC, Nevada, Florida and Vermont will see the least impact of increased robotization. Production plays a minor role in these places.


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