Hiring Robots in Wisconsin

There is a legitimate conversation about immigration to be had, although I don’t trust Trump and his nationalist minions in the White House to have it. There is also a legitimate conversation to be had about robotics, and the dislocation of American workers. Ditto on mistrusting the Trump-ites.

The Washington Post has an interesting piece about a Wisconsin factory where robots have been introduced into the production line, not solely because of cost and efficiency, but because the company simply can’t find enough competent and reliable workers:

“But as one factory in Wisconsin is showing, the forces driving automation can evolve — for reasons having to do with the condition of the American workforce. The robots were coming in not to replace humans, and not just as a way to modernize, but also because reliable humans had become so hard to find. It was part of a labor shortage spreading across America, one that economists said is stemming from so many things at once. A low unemployment rate. The retirement of baby boomers. A younger generation that doesn’t want factory jobs. And, more and more, a workforce in declining health: because of alcohol, because of despair and depression, because of a spike in the use of opioids and other drugs.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/rise-of-the-machines/2017/08/05/631e20ba-76df-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_robots608pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.3cffab877177

Any employer wants to hire the best workers — I did when Jerry and I were running our financial planning firm. But what if the best workers aren’t people at all? Whose job is it to deal with that “workforce in declining health”?

That’s the conversation we need to be having.

2 thoughts on “Hiring Robots in Wisconsin

  1. Robots are, indeed, changing work opportunities. In healthcare, we use robots to run an assemnly line of laboratory tests. Technologist runthe system, but fewer are needed. Robots deliver clean and dirty imateents to the Operating room and sterile processing Surgeons do complex procedures using a Davinci robot. This robot does very tiny incisions. The surgeon runs the robot like a video game. It actually takes more staff to manage the robot then traditional surgery. It also takes longer. Why use a robot? Patients have less trauma with the tiny incisions, Uslust no or little post op pain, less complications and shorter hospital stays. All good. Yes robots have changed work? But there are still needs for human, just different work, often more complex.

  2. for Katie: Do the people you supervise welcome robotics, recognizing the benefits to patients? Or do your staff fear for their jobs?

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