The Impact of Robotics and Automation on Working Conditions and Employment

Q. C. Pham, R. Madhavan, L. Righetti, W. Smart, R. Chatila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A quick overview of the concerns raised by the accelerated introduction of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in all economic sectors and, in particular, its effects on working conditions and employment is discussed. Robots, like any machines introduced into the production process, have contrasting effects on workers. On the one hand, they can eliminate some harsh, unhealthy, or dangerous tasks. Indeed, when the management of a company considers introducing robots, its chief concern is not whether the robots are based on a fancy new technology or whether they will improve workers' welfare; it is profitability. The robots already deployed in factories still require an enormous amount of reprogramming when facing a slightly different task. They are far from being able to automatically learn to perform new tasks by themselves or from human demonstration. An important consideration is to raise the level of workers' education so that they can undertake the higher-level jobs required by automation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-128
Number of pages3
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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