There is a point well raised in several books I’ve read:
When a robot takes someone’s job, it actually costs the company a customer.
If you look around, say at supermarkets for example, you will see people ending their shift and becoming customers themselves at the till – buying the products of the shop with money they have earned working there.
It is the same in many businesses, people building cars buy those cars themselves and so on.
When the job is taken over by a robot they no longer have that income source to spend with the company.
So, while in the short-term the company has better results as their costs are lowered, in the long-term they are reducing the number of potential customers.
Bill Gates raises another important point, that robots do not pay tax:
So while initially the rise of the robots might be seen as a good thing, in the long-term we have people out of work and not spending money on the things that the robots are making.
We also have lower tax being raised for the government, so benefits are further reduced as the income to support them does not exist.
Whilst people may think this is all a long way in the future, you might be surprised to find out just how far we have come – I’ll cover this in my next post.