Will Robots Really Take Over Our Jobs?

While some occupations may indeed become automated, new positions for non-robotic employees will open up as well.

By Alain StephensAugust 31, 2015 2:54 pm

Since the rise of automation on American assembly lines, workers have been keeping a fearful eye on what author Martin Ford once called “the rise of the robots, technology and the threat of a jobless future.”

However, others believe that this kind of cultural anxiety is more fiction than fact, including analysts at Forrester Research, who have just issued a new report on the future of robots in the workplace.

JP Gownder, an analyst with the group, says the study covers a time period to 2025, but the findings are not as bleak.

“Our study found that, while there will be an effect here – of course these automation technologies are real and they do displace a certain number of jobs – it’s also the case that they create a certain number of jobs,” Gownder says.

One example of such a job are repair or maintenance workers for the robots. This kind of shift in occupations should not be viewed through a cost-centered vision, but rather a customer service-centered vision, Gownder says. The report shows a more favorable outcome for businesses and entrepreneurs when customer service is a priority.

The report also predicts that while 16 percent of jobs in the U.S. will be eliminated, nine percent of jobs will also be created because of automation technologies.

“The net loss is about seven percent, that is not insignificant by the way,” Gownder says. “However, it’s not as much of a panic and we also have to remember that there are other effects in the economy that can lead to growth during that period of time.”