Why robots replaced people
Contrary to rumor, U.S. manufacturing is not in decline. The value of goods manufactured in this country hit at all-time high last year. But because of automation, it takes far fewer employees to make those goods today than during the Rust Belt’s golden era. Today, for example, a spot-welding robot in the auto industry costs the employer $8 an hour, compared with $25 for a worker. And robots are getting more sophisticated every year. One such machine from Universal Robots can solder, paint, screw, glue, and grasp items—and even repair itself when damaged. “A steel mill like we have here, 20 years ago, it would have to be run by 5,000 or 6,000 people,” says Ohio State Sen. Sean O’Brien. “Now it’s 800 people, because of automation.” As technology becomes ever more sophisticated, job losses will grow, not diminish. A 2013 study projected that as many as 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be lost to automation and robots over the next two decades.