February 23rd, 2016 10:12 AM
As low wage employees, Obama and labor unions continue to fight for higher wages and benefits for both skilled and unskilled workers, they forget about their new competition working for even lower wages. And no, I don’t mean workers from Mexico.
Low wage workers and those who make under $20 per hour are at serious risk of losing their jobs very soon and being replaced by more efficient robots.
In the recent annual report published by the White House, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics said that the probability of an employee making less than $20 per hour losing their job to some sort of automation is a shocking 83%. If you make between $20 and $40 per hour you have a 31% chance of being replaced. And if you make more than $40 an hour, you have a 4% chance of being replaced.
Let’s take an example.
The shipping industry. If the government would allow Amazon to deliver packages with drones, there would be drones delivering packages everywhere. Who will this hurt? UPS, Fedex, and DHL drivers for sure.
Furthermore, when a package arrives at Fedex, UPS or DHL, it is taken off one truck or plane by a human where it is placed on conveyor belts, sorted by at least 2 other humans, and loaded by at least 1 more human. If the shipping companies can create a robot that grabs a package out of a truck or plane and sets it on a conveyor belt, and another robot to do the just the opposite; grab a package and put it in a truck or plane, this is the end of pretty much the entire low and medium wage workforce for the entire parcel delivery industry. If you don’t need workers to load, unload, sort or deliver packages, it doesn’t leave many open positions in these corporations.
Let’s take another example.
We all know about the fast food industries fight for $15 an hour. Well what these workers are not realizing is the machines to automatically flip a burger already exists and the technology to add lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese on a sesame seed bun is probably not that far off.
These workers won’t get anything but a pink slip within the next decade.
Robots are more efficient, make less mistakes, don’t have to sleep 8 hours a day, and don’t require a 1-hour break for lunch. Although there will be programmers and tech jobs galore, to install, fix, and upgrade, these machines, it will not be enough to cover the loss of hundreds of millions of jobs in the U.S. and around the globe.
At least in the short term during what will likely be known as the robotic age, we could see huge unemployment until we figure out how to re-utilize these workers.