Do we need people for that work? Automatic sprouts after cobwebs

Ask for a roast beef sandwich on a farm drive east of Los Angeles and talk to Tori: an intelligent voice assistant who takes your orders and sends them to online chefs.

“Sick people are not called,” said Amir Siddique, who aired the IBI show on Arbi Francesis in Ontario, California this year. “Corona doesn’t get it. And its reliability is great. ”

The epidemic is not just about hitting Americans in 2020 — it can also be a long-term threat to many of their jobs. With so much labor shortages and labor costs, companies have begun to automate services that economists once thought were safe, thinking that customers will not be able to easily deliver what they believe customers need.

Past experience has shown that such automatic waves create more jobs than they do in the end, but they do destroy the low-skilled jobs that many low-income workers rely on. The effects of the growing ills on the US economy could be severe.

If it weren’t for the epidemic, CDD would probably not be investing in new technology that could alienate existing employees and some customers. But he went smoothly, saying, “Basically, you don’t need a lot of people, but those people are now working in the kitchen and elsewhere.”

Ideally, automation can relocate employees to better and more exciting jobs until they receive appropriate technical training, says John Monius, an economist at Redland University. But he says that even though it is happening now, it is not moving fast enough.

To make matters worse, the entire service could now be in jeopardy as manufacturing becomes more automated. “The robots have escaped from the manufacturing sector to a large service sector,” he said. “I take contact work very seriously. I was completely taken aback. ”

Improvements in robotic technology allow machines to perform many tasks that previously required humans – throwing pizza flour, transporting hospital textiles, checking measurements, sorting items. The epidemic hastened their adoption. After all, robots cannot get sick or spread disease. Unexpected child care also does not require a break to deal with emergencies.

In the past, pandemic economists have encouraged companies to invest in machines that increase productivity — but also kill low-skilled workers. “Our results show that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about robots’ emergence seem justified,” he wrote in a January paper.

The consequences of unbalanced unpaid work for high-risk low- and middle-wage workers can be devastating — and for viral infections. Those jobs include sales staff, administrative assistants, cashiers and assistants in hospitals and caring for the sick and elderly.

Employers seem eager to bring the machines. According to a study by the nonprofit World Economic Forum last year, 43% of companies plan to reduce their workforce due to the new technology. Since the second quarter of 2020, trade investment in equipment has grown by 26%, which is twice as fast as the overall economy.

According to the International Robotics Federation Trade Group, rapid growth is expected in roving machines that clean floors in supermarkets, hospitals and warehouses. The same group expects improvements in the sale of robots that provide information to buyers or provide room service orders in hotels.

Restaurants were among the most prominent robotic guardians. For example, in late August, the chain of Sweetgreen announced the purchase of a kitchen robotics startup machine that would cook vegetables and grains and put them into bowls.

And it’s not just robots — software and AI-powered services are also on the rise. Starbucks has been automating the background of the store’s inventory. More stores have moved to auto-check.

Scott Lawton, CEO of Arlington, Virginia-based, had trouble getting his staff back to the restaurants when the outbreak began.

So he decided to do it without them. With the help of a software company, the company can order online and payment system customers can use it on their phones. Chefs now scan the barcode in the center of each table to access the menu and order their food without waiting for a server. Workers bring food and drink to their tables. And when they finish eating, customers pay by phone.

The innovation has shattered the number of workers, but workers are not necessarily worse. Each Bartako site: There are 21: It now has up to eight assistant managers, almost double the total of the pre-epidemic. Many are former ministers, and they wander around the tables to make sure everyone has what they need. They are paid an annual salary of $ 55,000 instead of an hourly wage.

Tips are now shared with all other employees, including the dishwasher, who are currently earning $ 20 or more, which is much higher than their pre-epidemic pay. “We have a shortage of energy to read in the news,” says Lawton.

The rise in automation has not stopped the spectacular recovery in the U.S. labor market – at least so far.

The US economy lost a staggering 22.4 million jobs in March and April 2020 during the US epidemic. Employers have returned 17 million jobs since April 2020. They are complaining about not having enough workers and not enough workers.

Behind the increase is a huge increase in consumer spending, with many unexpectedly financing the crisis – thanks to both federal aid checks and, in many cases, savings from working at home and skipping daily trips.

Mark Zandy, chief economist at Moody Analysts, expects employers to keep rolling for a long time.

For one thing, many Americans are taking the time to return to work: some are still worried about COVID-19 health risks and child care issues, while others, due to generous federal benefits, will end September 6 across the country.

In addition, a large number of baby boom workers have retired. “The labor market will be very, very strong in the future,” says Zandy.

For now, the short-term benefits of the economic crisis are automatically increasing any losses, and the results will be seen gradually over the years. That can’t last. Unemployment of researchers at the University of Zurich and the University of British Columbia last year can be explained by the recovery of 35 years of job opportunities, a rapid recession, and a loss of self-employment. .

Despite strong employment since the middle of last year, the US economy still has less than 5.3 million jobs in February 2020. And Lydia Bususur, a leading economist at Oxford Economics, said last month that 40% of jobs were in jeopardy. In automation, especially in food preparation, retail and manufacturing.

Some economists worry that it will push automated workers into lower wages. Deron Asemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Pascal Reerepopo of Boston University, estimated in June that the decline in U.S. wages between 1980 and 2016 could be attributed to machines replacing normal human activity.

“A lot of automated work was in the middle of capacity distribution,” says Asemoglu. They no longer exist, and the workers who made them are now doing low-skilled jobs.


AP Economics writer Christopher Rugaber contributed to this story.


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