In the competition between robots and humans for American jobs, researchers now say that it might be time to declare a winner: the robots.
The manufacturing sector is most impacted by robotics and automation. The negative effects of robots on human workers is now quantifiable. According to research published by Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University, both economists, robots are having a direct, negative impact on human workers.
One measurement highlighted in the study indicates that workers both suffered job loss and saw their wages lowered with the introduction of robots. A similar study released by PwC, an accounting and consulting firm, suggested that 38% of all jobs in the U.S. may be at risk from automation.
The optimistic hope that jobs lost to automation will be offset in kind with new jobs in the economy does not appear to be promising. The Boston University economists saw surprisingly small job increases in other occupations that offset those lost in manufacturing. At present, displaced workers, especially blue-collar men with only high school diplomas, will have no clear path forward.
Jobs at risk due to automation are those that require less education, according to the report. These include hospitality, food service, transportation, and storage. Job sectors that are more difficult to automate are: healthcare, education, consulting and research.