Employment hazard with Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 compromising employment?
This is a discussion I often in the last time.

Of course I’m not able to see the future but I have a strong meaning about this topic that I share with you in this article.

Relation of Industry 4.0 and employment

For those of you that do not know a lot about Industry 4.0 I will first explain where the risk is.

Industry 4.0 is all about digitalization and automation. Because of that there is also a lot of robots used to do so.
These robots of course may replace work currently done by humans.
There are other things that may affect employments, but I will not go deeper into this topic, as it doesn’t matter for this article.

Robots are already do repetitive work, such as electro-welding, sorting, placement of units and a lot more.
Currently they are often not able to do work that differs a lot. For instance when the same work has to be done on very different kinds of goods, or when there are any decisions to be made.

This will change in near future, as there are already some robots, that are able to do so. It is not because of Industry 4.0, but because of algorithms getting better and more reliable.

With that change, robots will do more and more work, which will make the “need” for humans obsolete.

There is a very good (german) documentary about the topic.

Social fear

A lot of people are therefore afraid of losing their jobs.
They are maybe too old or not educated enough to find a new one. Or at least they are afraid of that.

Industry 4.0 employment hazard: man vs robot

Scientists give us very opposed forecasts.

A lot of politicians are discussing the risks and the actions against. These also leads into very diverse topics, such as unconditional basic income, robot taxes and much more.

And of course there are also a lot of discussions and meanings about the moral side of the story.
There are meanings that say, employments must be save at all costs. Other say that they are anyway overpaid for this stupid kind of work etc.
I’m a consultant, so I’m not going to tell you, if this is right or wrong.

Time factor of Industry 4.0

As I already told you in other articles, Industry 4.0 is a hype.
Of course it will not disappear in the near future. But maybe it gets another name, as it already did several times in the past.

Because of being a hype, everybody speaks about it, as it was already reality since 20 years. But this is not the case. I promise! Maybe companies are currently moving very fast. But most of them did not yet reach the target and will not for several years.

The big risk for the employment is the speed. I mean, how many years are required to replace humans.

Technology is always faster than its application and society.
I guess the technology has already been there for some time. But it did not take place.

Why? Because you need money to do so. You need time to do so. And there is a lot of uncertainty about trends and new technologies.
As long as companies are led by humans, this uncertainty will make them slow.

Obsolete jobs

We already had a lot of obsolete jobs.

One of them is the street lamp lighter. They walked through parks and streets by dawn, to ignite the lamps.
It’s already too long ago, so I don’t know the correct name of this job.

This job became obsolete, when these lamps were replaced by electric ones.
So the only reason for these people to lose their jobs was technology.

If every lamp would have been replaced at the same time, there could have been hundreds of unemployed persons at the same time all over the world.
But I’m pretty sure this was not the case.

It is exactly the same scenario with the robots.
Not every company will replace the humans by robots at the same time. And robots are not able to do every work at the same time.

Losing the focus

Everybody is speaking about this danger from Industry 4.0 and robots. But there are a lot of other industries and trends involved.
There is a lot of artificial intelligence growing up and compromising jobs. I know for instance about algorithms having better rates than investment bankers.

Ok maybe your moral already says that you don’t care about them. But it’s not the only example.

On the other side a lot of work became obsolete, when software has taken place in companies.
Work of document management, Work of planning, Work of accounting etc.
But we are all still here and have our jobs.

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