What does Wal-Mart mean by adding a lot of robots?
Some time ago, Wal-Mart released a message: adding a large number of robots to its stores. Wal-Mart believes that the influx of robots will reduce the human labor, because these repeated and predictable daily tasks can be completely replaced by robots, such as scanning shelf inventory and counting goods arriving at the store.
At first glance, this seems innocuous. However, if you consider the consequences of deeper darkness, you will find this thing a bit scary. At present, some studies have begun to study the results of the introduction of robots, artificial intelligence and other technologies. These studies show that the new era of artificial intelligence will free workers from the boring and monotonous chore, so that workers are free to accept more meaningful work created by robots and technology. However, it is not reasonable to think rationally. One question is, what do human employees who are replaced by robots do? Let us look at this from the perspective of common sense and practice.
For example, suppose a person's job is a porter. Every day, the job is to unload the box from the truck or the shelf. He does not have a diploma and does not have the professional skills required by the market. But some unrealistic experts say that a 52-year-old high school graduate living in a small town, even if he doesn't have any skills, can find a software-like job in a startup. This is simply unrealistic.
In addition, not just Wal-Mart is deploying robots. Silicon Valley venture capitalists are also investing in companies that enable artificial intelligence, software and robots to replace people in every corner of the business world. We should carefully consider the long-term consequences, rather than naively welcome the arrival of robots. The goal of Wal-Mart to deploy robots is to cut costs. For the major global companies, manpower is a huge expense. In the long run, the one-time cost of buying a robot is much cheaper than the tens of thousands of people on the company's payroll. Robots also don't need benefits, vacations, and they don't resign for better opportunities, and they don't complain.
A large management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, released a report some time ago, stating that by 2030, 800 million workers may be adversely affected by robotics and automation, losing their jobs. This accounts for about one-fifth of the global workforce today. By 2030, the United States will add 73 million jobs.
According to research, the American middle class is the most afraid. The skills possessed by these workers can be easily replaced by robotics, and lawyers, bankers, accountants, doctors, truck drivers, taxi drivers, fast food workers and many other professionals will all be affected. They will all compete with robots and artificial intelligence.
McKinsey & Company pointed out that “the government must develop and provide job retraining to help unemployed workers and provide more income support. In addition to retraining, a range of policies can also help, including unemployment insurance, public assistance for job search. Workers’ benefits during job change, and possible solutions to supplementary income, such as a more comprehensive minimum wage policy, universal basic income, or wage growth linked to productivity.”
Millions of people will participate in government welfare programs. And some so-called experts say that hard-working people with more than 20 years of professional experience and good life can easily turn to different professions and continue to live a decent life, which is not realistic.