Some may be concerned that the introduction of cobots will “reduce jobs” “take over jobs” etc. However we would like to reassure you that this is not the case…
Firstly, let’s clarify what a Cobot is and what it does.
A “Cobot” is short for collaborative robot – This means that they work collaboratively WITH and assisted by humans.
They are designed to complete a repetitive manual movement or process. This is to alleviate the risk of repetitive strain when performed by a human, and free workers to engage in less mundane tasks.
So who installs the cobots and maintains them? Humans do! They need programming, maintaining, checking etc. All of these needs to be done by a human. And the introduction of more cobots means more human staff!
Something to think about, what makes a cobot different from other machinery?
A conveyor belt transporting post and parcels from one end to the factory is in an essence, a robot. It is programmed to transport items to prevent humans manually walking repeatedly up and down carrying boxes. However does it reduce employees? No. Workers are just utlised in a different way, the employees shift down the production line into another operation.
The same principle can be applied to the introduction of collaborative robots. They are designed to help assist the production process, not to replace or change it.
Advancements in history
Over history, technology has dramatically advanced, and with changes, concerns have arisen along the way. Think of the boom of the PC computer back in the 80’s where jobs felt threatened. However think now about how many people manufacture, maintain, and mostly use them as part of their daily working life! If anything the PC computer has improved the working climate.
Leaving the human tasks to the humans…
Whilst a cobot or robot can be robust and present superhuman strength and durability, they do not, and will never have the mental or emotional intelligence of a human. This is why we recommend leaving the “human tasks” to humans. Notice that self-checkouts have received major criticism since being implemented across supermarkets. Whilst we were all worried about them “replacing” jobs, they have not delivered customer service. Therefore this has now meant that not all companies will introduce them, and some companies have even reverted usage of them.
Conclusion: A cobot is to be used with and work alongside humans, not act as a direct replacement. It may take away a part of a job (but probably a part you do not enjoy and is actually repetitively straining). The introduction of cobots will create new jobs across the industry by creating a demand to program and maintain the robots. A cobot will never have the emotional/ mental intelligence to replace a human, however it can carry out the physical tasks that can be automated to free the human to complete human tasks.