Eric McNeal Online Blog

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Why Baxter The Robot Is Going To Take Your Job

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At the rate that technology is moving, we can't underestimate how our world will look in ten years from today. Perhaps we won't having flying cars, but we will have driverless cars actually being used commercially. Google says it plans to market it's self-driving vehicle by 2018 and many car manufacturers predict they will have similar offers by 2020 to 2025. So those of you who drive taxi-cabs for a living may want to rethink your long term plans. 

However, even if you don't think driverless vehicles will disrupt your world because you have a nice cushiony indoor job working in a manufacturing plant and the company has vowed not to outsource to another country, don't think you've totally dodged a bullet. Baxter the robot is interviewing for your job. And Baxter is inexpensive; no let me rephrase; At a retail price of around $22K, Baxter is down right cheap! That's about a year's salary for a minimum wage job in America. Read More

Baxter is actually a robot manufactured by a Boston company called Rethink Robotics. Baxter can be easily trained to complete simple tasks like picking or placing items in a box; repetitive type tasks. Of course Baxter needs quite a bit of human hand holding and wouldn't be much use without human intervention, but one human can manage perhaps dozens of Baxter's.

So let's keep in mind how technology works. Even if Baxter isn't capable of replacing your assembly line job today, it doesn't mean his younger cousin will not be able to replace it in five years from today. Even if lil' cuz costs $50K it would still be a bargain to many organizations. You must consider that robots are able to work 24/7 so it could potentially replace three jobs. Also, robots require no lunch breaks, no smoke breaks, no vacation, no vacation pay, no insurance, they won't file lawsuits against the company for accidents or discrimination, they won't go on strike, they don't require the light to work, they can work in extreme temperatures, they won't steal, etc. I can go on and on, but I'm sure you get my point.

In this innovative economy we now live in, you must become a thinker because labor jobs are vanishing and will continue to do so in America. Those who succeed in our knowledge-based society will be highly educated individuals who have some type of intellectual property to offer employers. So, the way to protect yourself against Baxter, his younger cousin, or any other technology from taking your job, it to learn to design the technologies. Those who can design, program, repair, or perform maintenance on Baxter should fair well.

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