In the midst of the controversy over the future of employment: how many robots are working around the world

Silvia Castro Betancourt

January 10, 2018

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According to the report “Global Robotics”, made by the bank HSBC, the world cup of who has more industrial robots is already won by China, which, according to estimates, will add about 300,000 robots in their factories, in 2019, more or less the same that there is in the whole world these days. Between 2017 and 2020, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the average annual growth for the sector will be 15%. Yes, the robots are marching at a steady pace.

“China is the world’s largest market for industrial robots, with 30% of global demand,” says the bank, in an article that Business Insider advances, and illustrates with a more than an eloquent image: more than half of the world’s robots live in Asia. While the Eastern giant commands the demand (and the production of the most basic robots), the advanced offer is headed by Japan and Europe, by the hand of companies such as the Japanese FANUC and Yaskawa, and the Swedish ABB.

The industries that most demand automation are automotive and electronics -by far-, and then metals and chemistry come. Besides the Chinese leader, the other countries that are well above the “robot” wave are South Korea, Japan, and the United States.

Of course, volume is not everything. When you look at the density of the sector, or the number of intelligent machines per 10,000 workers, the perspective changes. While South Korea has a density of 500; Singapore, almost 400; and Japan and Germany, 300; China does not reach 50. Therefore, in addition to leading in quantity, its great challenge is to reach 300 robots per 10,000 employees by 2020.

And at home? Although the data on robotic use are not yet relevant at the local level if successful experiences begin to stand out in several industries, such as medical and automotive. Some warning signs are also lit regarding the future.

According to the World Bank, 47% of jobs in the United States, 57% of jobs in OECD countries (developed and developing countries) and 77% of those in China are exposed to automation. In Argentina the numbers are similar: there are none of the large sectors of local economic activity with a probability of automation of occupations less than 50%. The data corresponds to an investigation by the Center for Economic Research (Cinve) of Uruguay, included in the “Robot-lución” report, which was published late last year by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

“The activity sectors where occupations with the highest risk of technological replacement are registered (in all cases exceeding 75%) are wholesale and retail trade and repairs, transportation and storage, and foreign agencies,” the investigation details.

Not all are thorns and there are also those who believe that technology, finally, will end up generating more jobs than those that will be eliminated and that, in any case, people will work less and will gain in quality of life. At least in part, Deloitte thinks so. A work that the consultant carried out in 2015 in Great Britain affirms that “technology created more jobs than it has destroyed in the last 144 years, it has saved us from boring, repetitive and dangerous work. Only 1.1% of the force was employed in the humanitarian professions during the 1871 census. For 2011, these jobs employed almost a quarter of the workforce in England and Wales. ” Of course, Deloitte also warns that “the rapid advances in technology mean that education, training, and income distribution are likely to be fundamental to the political debate for many years.”

In addition to electric sheep – as the writer, Philip K. Dick envisioned in the late 1960s – will the androids of the future dream of people’s work? Who knows. For now, in Palermo, the robot Galibot – bilingual and very nice – welcomes everyone in the Buenos Aires Planetarium and in Misiones, in the Hospital Escuela de Agudos Madariaga, the arms of the super robot Da Vinci already allowed human doctors to perform very accurate way more than 500 operations. Further north, in Las Vegas, autonomous vehicles, household robots and artificial intelligence applied to everything are the stars of CES, the most important technology expo in the world.

The above article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English. Click here to read the original article.

Silvia Castro Betancourt

January 10, 2018

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Acerca de Lucas Vargas:

  • Empezó en Grupo ZAP como el VP de Sales y en 2016 cuando la empresa tenía 60 empleados. Fue nombrado COO de VivaReal tomando el mando de Brian Requarth el Co-Fundador. VivaReal lanzó en Colombia y se trasladó a Brasil. En 2017 se hizo CEO del Grupo ZAP.
  • Ha trabajado en Mexico en PWC y en el Banco Santander
  • Tiene un Master de Business Administration de Harvard
  • En noviembre este año después de la fusión de OLX Brasil y Grupo ZAP fue nombrado el CEO del OLX Business Unit. Lidera la empresa junto con Andries Oudshoorn y Marcos Leite
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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.