Robotic Labor Taking Over the World? You Bet – Here Are the Details

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Let's not be silly here, robots don't want to kill all humans...they just want to take all their jobs. The accelerating rise in robot labor of the past decade, and its expansion into all areas of production, have led many to worry about the future of human workers. Yet how extensive is the robotic take over of labor? Our friends at Mezzmer Eyeglasses did some impressive research and created an even more impressive infographic explaining the present and future of robots in the workplace. Check out the Singularity Hub exclusive image below. With 9 million robots working in the world, and 4 million+ more scheduled to arrive next year, we're clearly entering into a new age of automation. But will it bring a new era of unemployment with it?

With the recent global economic slump, some have pointed to automated manufacturing and services as a possible explanation for why unemployment stays so high despite some financial recuperation. Others think that automation has the potential to outright stop the global economy if we don't do something drastic to change. Personally, robotic labor seems like a brilliant idea that will ultimately create more wealth, and open up more opportunity for humans to pursue enjoyable work. No matter where you sit in that debate, you have to admit that robot labor is a growing force to be reckoned with. The world's largest electronics manufacturer, Foxconn, is adding 1 million more robots in the next three years. Artificial intelligence is allowing automation to take positions held by people with advanced degrees. The robot revolution is coming. Hell, it's probably already here. And you know that mainstream news outlets aren't going to give this issue the coverage it deserves, you'll have to tell your friends about robots on your own. Infographics like this one are a great way to spread the word. So read it, share it, and prepare - automation domination is everywhere.

Robotic Labor

[image credit: Graphic Created by Mezzmer Eyeglasses]

Discussion — 8 Responses

  • Ver Greeneyes September 12, 2011 on 9:35 am

    Long term, I don’t think our monetary economy is sustainable, and we really need to start thinking seriously about what could replace it. We all know how communism in the Soviet Republic turned out, with no one having the motivation to innovate or produce quality products, so clearly there needs to be some incentive – unless we offload innovation itself onto AI! If anything, it seems likely that our future lies in personal development (e.g. sports), the arts and gaming (let’s also label the production of games as art, for simplicity). That may horrify some people, but let’s not glorify the 40 year desk job that most people in the developed world are stuck with until retirement. We may have a future as scientists, but neural implants aside I seriously doubt the majority of humans will be interested in pursuing that path.

    The one addition to the above that I can think of is human computing. Computational capabilities and machine learning algorithms may catch up to us before this becomes relevant (from a global perspective), but at the moment humans still far outclass computers when it comes to performing certain tasks. Look at [email protected] for instance, or the Solar Stormwatch. In a future where manual labor has been displaced by the mass availability of robotic alternatives, we may find the most productive use of our time has become to be computers!

    • Zabo Ver Greeneyes September 13, 2011 on 8:56 am

      Soviet Republics also didnt have the advantages that the non-Soviet Republics mainly due to the destruction of WW2. As for innovation Soviet Republics were pretty innovated when it came to rapid industrialization and technological advancement in such a short period of time.

      Do you really believe that a centralized economy, now with computers, will not be the best alternative?

      Nano Socialism Futurist theories also tackle the Human labor question since nano socialism eliminates human labor entirely. This is because self replicating nano’s destroys the need for physical labor.

      A socialist/communist economic system is the long term solution, or technocratic/cyberocracy government though I dont see a capitalist economic system lasting too long with those government styles.

  • Rob September 12, 2011 on 2:19 pm

    Automation is increasing in power per £ by 20 or 30% pa, that is 100% every 4 years. As you say, the number of robots will increase by 140% this year and as they get more powerful per £ then they will be rapidly deployed. The only way western manufacturers can compete with low wage ones is by using automation. So,automation [which includes robots] will inevitably take our work, increased unemployment, part time or intermittent work will increase and as the unemployed have less money and pay no tax then this will cut demand drastically and tax income forcing prices down and the only way to do that is by automating, and so on.Governments will not be able to borrow or print money because no growth means no-one will lend and inflation would create debt and push up prices so be self defeating. So, it is a vicious downward, self reinforcing spiral of deflation that will be massively disruptive but at the end, in five to ten years we will find most things can be produced without people. That will be nice.

  • Luterjufra September 13, 2011 on 8:18 am

    Amazing !!!! I’m so exciting to see this kind of robots..

  • bridgey September 15, 2011 on 1:58 am

    The term is ‘technological unemployment’; it is both inevitable and irreversible. As we develop new technologies to make our lives easier as we have always done, more and more machines will replace human workers. Machines do not need rest or salary, do not complain about human rights, and can operate 24/7, so they are perfect for the current corporate systems which have built in to them the need to produce more goods, faster, with cheaper materials and no margin for error unlike humans. This approach does not however take into account the incredibly wasteful nature of corporations, who of course value profit before so much as thinking about any consequences of their actions to the environment, such as whether they are rapidly depleting the Earth’s resources faster than they can be replenished and pumping out harmful waste. Our current systems are simply unsustainable – we use more resources than required generating massive waste. It is a fact that soon we will need two Earths just to stay steady with the current rate of human consumption on the planet. This is of course impossible and will lead to mass starvation, poverty and protests, the like of which the world has never seen. If this article interests you then no doubt you will find and associated free documentaries incredibly engaging and eye-opening (

  • flatmax September 15, 2011 on 5:04 am

    \”robots don’t want to kill all humans…they just want to take all their jobs.\”

    Are you ready for the android war ?

    Which side will you choose ?

  • Vstoriguard September 15, 2011 on 12:48 pm

    As readers have already noted, the robot revolution is inevitable. Like it or not, we are entering an age in which humans are unemployable. That means we’re going to have a society in which most people are supported by some means other than earning paychecks. We will ALL be on welfare.

    But, if that is the only option, it will also be resisted tooth and nail by our elites. Imagine for a moment the response such an idea would have received at the recent Tea Party Debate.

  • SaintWells October 2, 2011 on 1:44 am

    Lets get the facts straight , unlike humans that is here not by choice of parent or other , robots are here by choice of humans.
    “Let’s not be silly here, robots don’t want to kill all humans…they just want to take all their jobs. The accelerating rise in robot labor of the past decade, and its expansion into all areas of production, have led many to worry about the future of human workers. Yet how extensive is the robotic take over of labor?”
    Humans discovered robotic power and capacity , hence dominated and controlled them to execute task on there behalf .
    An extension of one self to control matters and results by having greater control input and thus greater controlled output.
    Unfortunately humans did not provide proper for there own kind , leaving us with mega non-usable specimens that has not been properly prepared or conditioned to perform the survival tasks of the big picture . Lack of consideration and values , greed and the false love for kin has created a breed of useless monsters that serves no real value and lives by ignorance , arrogance and inconsideration .No interest for other than the self leads to parasites with violent criminal imprints.Crime starts when one takes from another what does belong to one self and does not deliver what one sells . There is no justification in dishonesty witch is to the tee the greater society we live in , media the god of deception and idols like sports due to the lack of self value results in world that is becoming incapable of delivering to parasites that drains the systems and contributes negatively to production.
    Now robotic power and force needs to be enhanced and deployed to provide for the greater race where the human race self has failed .
    The moral of the story , teach your children well , prepare them for work , give them duties and tasks , never feel sorry for them , love them by making them conscientious and accountable , make sure they can take care of themselves and shy not to labour .That is there survival.