Will Robots take over our jobs?

Every year, more and more jobs disappear to the rise of robot automation. Could your's be next?

where we are now

of people dislike robots within the workplace

of bookkeepers will be replaced by robots

of manufacturing output has increased with a decrease of manufacturing jobs

What is Robotic Automation?

Robotic Automation is the use of software (optionally with hardware) to meet a task with greater efficiency compared to that of a human. Companies around the globe are taking advantage of robotic automation to ensure their businesses are running at an ideal speed while saving costs due to rising labour costs.

When did it all start?

Rising labor costs and greater demands for efficiency and quality is causing robotic automation to gain more and more traction for industrial use. The increase of industrial robots is exponential and is expanding as technology advances allowing for lower-cost solutions. Whilst this is a positive for companies as they don’t have to pay for as many skilled workers this also means that the workers are losing jobs due to robots taking their place. This raises some ethical issues when it comes to pushing workers out of their jobs which in turn may make it harder for them to find a job in the same industry. Robotic automation would also require more power consumption which indirectly affects the environment.
‘Forrester’ predicts that RPA (Robotic Process Automation) will take over low-value repetitive tasks. In 2018, RPA will replace or change around 311,000 office and administrative positions and 260,000 sales related positions in the US.

What are the digital systems involved?

Any repetitive or simple task is a candidate for robotic manufacturing. Robots can achieve tasks that may be too dangerous or in a hard to reach area for humans. The technology for robots is constantly evolving; sensory systems and machine learning allow robots to adapt to changes in the task allowing for more complex tasks to be performed.

In a workplace environment, several aspects could be replaced by machines. Systems such as advanced robotics designed to do a specific task or a program designed to emulate a specific thought process could be used to replace jobs of people. This has already been implemented in the workplace, especially in factories and farms. This work requires little to no education and consists of repetitive work which robotics can replicate perfectly with consistency and efficiency. Operations such as farming are replaced with machines consisting of blades and belts in order to swiftly cut up and collect crops with ease.

Digital systems are not always physical however. In certain workplaces, businesses are starting to implement software with the capability of managing and controlling a set of human staff. Programs coupled with AI can gain the ability to search the web for freelancers and assign them tasks to do in order to achieve business wishes such as designing a website. This program can learn through feedback on reliable freelancers and use this information to check up on and manage staff with ease which could replace a human manager job. Operations such as farming and factories however need physical digital system as they work with tangible products.

Interested in how robotic automation works?

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Who are the stakeholders?

There are several stakeholders involved such as the companies who own the robots, the government, the manufacturers of the robots and the workforce.

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What do People Think?

After Collecting 19 responses from a state selective school, we were able to determine what the future gerneration thinks of the possible introduction of robots automation into their future careers.


Through careful analysis of the graphs, we can conclude how the overall opinion on the introduction of robots into the workplace is mixed. The radar chart and the middle chart demonstrate the even split with people equally within the far right or left side of the spectrum.
With the use of pivot charts, we can also conclude how the data is distributed. People who plan to go down finance, medicine seem to be evenly distributed on whether they would be comfortable working with robots while people who plan to go down science seem to be happier without the introduction of robots. Other industries participants are interested in such as Army or Entertainer don't seem to be alarmed by the introduction of robots into their workplace.
Other observations that could be made are how people under Science agree that robots will affect their industry while people under Medicine have an even split. The average comfortability was 3.2 which is around the middle, implying people are still not sure what impact robots would make in their industry.

Download Depersonalised data

What are the impacts?


There are many social issues of implementing robotics technology in the workplace. The first one being the lack of human interaction within the workplace. When most of the people are replaced by machines in manufacturing there will be few humans near each other in the process and this can be damaging to their social health and wellbeing as they might feel lonely and isolated within the workplace due to lack of interaction. This can also mean that they have a reduced sense of belonging. When this impacts people, it is likely to reduce their productivity in the workforce and company. This further negatively impacts the economy as a whole as the reduced output. The other social issue associated with robotic automation


  • Unemployment - Workers that lose their jobs to RPA will have to find another job or may even have trouble finding a job in the same industry at all. This brings up the questions of whether it is ethical to kick workers out of their jobs. If RPA is implemented consistently on the same industry they may find themselves unemployed for a long amount of time.

  • Inequality - Implementing RPA successfully in an industry will produce an incredible amount of wealth. By using RPA some workers will be cut from the workforce and the rest will receive more money, distributing the wealth even more narrowly. This creates a bigger wealth gap between those that profit from RPA and those that lose out with RPA

  • Using AI in Robotic Automation - With AI comes learning, these machines have to learn just like humans. Although training can cover a range of possibilities, training can’t possibly cover all the situations that will occur in the workplace. These systems aren’t as complex as a human brain and they are imperfect when it comes to reading a situation. If we plan on using AI in RPA we have to make sure that machines perform as planned.

  • The more powerful technology becomes the more it is able to be used for the wrong purposes. Advancements in RPA also allows for more versatility in malicious uses for robotic automation. Weapons manufacturing can become much easier with advances in RPA. Should advances in RPA be made whilst keeping in mind that it may cause deaths because of advances in the wrong direction.


As the population in the world increases the required output of products also increases. To match the increasing demand we have had to develop technologies that make our production process more efficient, and robotic automation is the biggest technology answer for that. However, due to this heavy industrialisation, it requires a lot of resources and energy to create and operate these big robotic machines. Just like humans need wood, water and medical care robots also need fuel and maintenance to function optimally. As heavy industrial processes such as car making or mining are the most robot populated industries they usually require robots to be robust and large for their purpose. This makes steel the most popular resource to use in manufacturing robots which is deadly for the environment as steel is incredibly resource consuming and polluting to produce. Not to mention that stronger and lighter materials such as titanium are even more energy consuming. Heavy metals often leak into the local groundwater which causes contamination, if appropriate measures aren't taken. Here is a link to a page which goes into more depth about the environmental impacts of mining here. The main issue with robots however is after they are manufactured. They require tremendous amounts of energy from the grid and are a burden on infrastructure.

Our existing regulations will need to change in order to accommodate the new technologies that are emerging.
1. What regulations can you apply to robots?
The first issue with regulations is definitions. To apply regulations to a robot you have to define who/what the regulation is aimed at. The term ‘robot’ can apply to a variety of different devices who have a wide variety of functions. This is an issue because it is almost impossible to develop a set of rules that are applicable to all ‘robots’, instead rules should be specific for different devices. Secondly, is the issue of data privacy. What kinds of data will/should robots have access to and how how will this be protected? Then comes the issue of liability for the errors that the robots make. Who is responsible for the damages and compensation of the victim when the robot makes a mistake, causes accidents or damages. Currently, one of the ideas surrounding this issue is a hybrid approach to liability where traditional liability principles are applied to the robot if a defect is detected but if not then treated similar to a domesticated animal when it contributes to the occurrence.