Should robots be used to replace humans?



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Kudzai S.A. Marume

Candidate Number: 2310



SHOULD ROBOTS BE USED TO REPLACE HUMANS?

*(SLIDE ONE)

In today’s world technological advancement is increasing at a very rapid rate. This rapid increase has also caused the rate of unemployment to rise in the majority of most MEDC’s and LEDC’s. In everyday language ‘’unemployment’’ is defined as the ability to not be able to get a job. The term ‘’technological advancement’’ means allowing change in the production of more goods and services. This mostly refers to computers and robots. The outcomes of technological advancement can result in faster, better and more efficient standards of living.

With reference to document seven, it states that, ‘’the Industrial revolution brought great benefits and challenges too, from affordable consumer goods to manufacturing pollution’’. Similarly, we’re achieving the same benefits in this Robotic Revolution. Robots have helped to improve the world in a number of various ways especially in the production sector of businesses. When I look at this topic at a global perspective I was able to distinguish the current countries which are interested in the robotic system. These countries are usually the more economically developed countries. For example, America, Japan, China and Australia. All these countries have different reasons to why they have started to use robots in their society. Japan is going through a robotic revolution as we currently speak, and it’s the leading country in the world in terms in terms of inventing the robots and putting them to use. They invented robots such as a baby seal to look after the elderly and some robots have been used in hospitals to deliver food to patients. Whereas, LEDC’S are not really concerned of this robotic revolution because they have bigger issues on their plate, such as, trying to eradicate diseases like Ebola or Aids, and trying to create jobs because the unemployment rates in LEDC’s which are mostly in Africa have been trying to reduce the level of poverty to a minimum.

*(SLIDE TWO)

Firstly, the reason why many countries especially MEDC’s countries would want to us robots is because robots can work at a continuous pace. The speed at which output will be produced will rise because robots do not get tired easily and so they will not have to take any breaks, vacations or sleep like humans. Therefore, this is the reason why they have the ability to produce more output compared to humans. Most industrial jobs may get monotonous for humans especially if they are doing a repetitive task which doesn’t bring any challenges. This will decrease the job efficiency in most companies and lead to a decrease in the rate of production. Whereas, with robots this will barely happen because they are designed to repeat the same procedures over and over again. With robots I believe that job efficiency will increase and the standard of production will rise because less errors and mistakes will be made. Robots will uplift the quality of production; they will also produce the products in large quantities at a faster rate in a short amount of time. This level of consistency will be hard to achieve if humans are being used instead of robots. Humans can make many errors and they can’t work for more than 24 hours compared to robots. By using robots we are able to increase safety measures at the workplaces. This will prevent human workers from performing their jobs in hazardous conditions. Robots are capable of lifting heavy loads without getting injured or tired. Basically, they will help to prevent any accidents.

When the workplace safety is improved and errors are minimized this will lead to financial savings for the company. Unlike humans, robots don’t need monthly wages, food or healthcare. The employer will be able to minimize the number of workers he has because he can just replace them with robots, which will offer untiring performance and this will save valuable time. Robots will also help to reduce waste because their movements are precise with no errors. Companies that invest in the robotic system will not have to be concerned about many certain factors in their company. To conclude the benefits that the robotic system brings to the world today, I would just like to say that they will save money in the long run and also improve the accuracy levels when it comes to the production of products. In general robots are considered as user-friendly, intelligent and affordable. By using robot’s most companies will have a competitive edge.

I would like to make reference to Susan Warner and Gary Anderson who believe that by introducing robots as a production line they are able to invent a large quantity of different types of Mercedes-Benz for people, instead of just making them for wealthy individuals who can afford them. Susan Warner wrote an article called, ‘’Putting it on the line at Mercedes-Benz U.S International with the Mercedes Production System.’’ In the article it stated that, ‘This automotive production system has been able to achieve standardized parts, assembly-line systems, worker training and motivation, just-in-time inventory control, and continuous improvement. At the same time, all available technology-including robotics, sensors, automation, computer control, and environmentally sensitive practices-would be employed in building the new facility and its production system. In some parts of the plant, only a few team members can be seen, while an extravagantly complicated ballet of robots perform the actual manufacturing work.

Another good example is the Boeings-777x. This plane is in the process of being invented and it’s planning to use robots to help increase the production-line, a move that follows the auto industry’s footsteps. Boeings moving to a new assembly technology in which robots join some 777x fuselage panels together by drilling holes and attaching about 60 000 fasteners. A German company with a major presence in the auto industry, Kuka Robotics, is supplying the robots. Robots can improve quality and speed, and Boeing also pointed to safety improvements: ‘the process that’s being automated is responsible for more than half of the worker’s injuries today’, the company said. ‘’Workers aren’t happy to be replaced by robots, but those affected by the robotic assembly won’t lose their jobs. Instead, they’ll be moved to another manufacturing job or to operating the robots’’, said company spokesman Doug Alder. The company already opened the door to robots in 2013, using them to plant 737wings.

*(SLIDE THREE)

Nevertheless, there are other manufacturing companies in the world who think otherwise and have decided to replace robots with humans. Reference can be made to a car manufacturing company in Japan called TOYOTA, which has started taking jobs away from robots and replace them with humans. Toyota believes that the only way they can improve progress and promote more thinking about efficiency is by putting people back in charge of making things so that they are able to be more creative and bring new ideas into the company. Their goal is to create a more efficient car production line. A well experienced Toyota employee, Mistsuru Kawai said, ‘’we need to become more solid and get back to basics, to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them.’’ This car company is aiming to improve their Toyota models by bring back more people so that they can have more new ideas flooding into the company. They are also willing to train people so that they can enhance their knowledge for manufacturing and improve their skills. Jeff Liker has written eight books on Toyota and visited Kawai last year. She mentioned that, ‘’Toyota views their people who work in a plant like this as craftsmen who need to continue to refine their art and skill level. In almost every company you would visit, the worker’s jobs are to feed parts into a machine and call somebody for help when it breaks down.’’ With this sort of production line employees would require training programs so that they are more experienced. This would normally take time and eat into the financial budget of most companies when it comes to training their employees and maintenance for the robots.

However, replacing humans with robots may be harmful to humanity. According to Document 7, under the topic of Law and Ethics, there is a questions which says, ‘’Are there unique legal or moral hazards in designing machines that can autonomously kill people? Or should robots merely be considered tools, such as guns and computers, and regulated accordingly?” This question is very intriguing because in today’s world most robots are being used for heart surgeries. Robotic surgeries are being used to reduce the amount of trauma as far as possible during heart surgeries. There are a few disadvantages when it comes to this new robotic system. I think the major disadvantage is the fact that the robot will not be able to cooperate when something goes wrong during a surgery and they won’t be capable to undergo emergency procedures during this particular time and this may cost a person’s life. Unlike humans robots are just conditioned to do repetitive processes. They are not yet fully designed to think outside the box and come up with their own new ideas. This may be extremely dangerous especially when someone’s life is on the line. Other draw-backs about this robotic system are that it’s quite expensive to purchase. The prices are ranging from $750 000 to $1,000,000, and to be quite frank a majority of international hospitals will not be able to afford this kind of robotic equipment. The safety and efficiency of this new technological advancement has not been proven to be sufficient. In my opinion I believe that robots should be used to improve our way of living. The reason why I think they should not be used is because they will increase the unemployment rates and its quite unfair if a certain person went to school for more than half their life only to find out they cannot get a job.



In conclusion, I would like to identify the need for further research and reflection on my question. I would also like to suggest a reasonable solution to resolve this robotic problem that mankind is going to face in the long run if they don’t do some self-reflection.


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