Probably you have read some articles in the last months about how the machines will destroy jobs in the next decades and how robots will replace middle class workers by millions.
As always, things are not black or white, and as long as machines are more efficient than workers doing simple tasks, the truth is that machines can not create added value. Specialized machines can perform tasks at incredible speed, twenty four hours a day, and with incredible precission and efficiency. Period. Machines can not deduct by themselves that task could be better done if the element A is added after the element B is already inserted. That is creation of value and that can not be made by machines. It does not mean that everybody must become a mechanical engineer; In the next decades we will see a dramatic reduction of jobs that do not create added value.
By now, there is an incredible variety of machine-tool making tasks for us and saving us millions of work hours. Most of them are really close to you, and you can realize for yourself the advantages of the machine over humans.
Stretch wrapping machine
If you traveled abroad recently with a big suitcase, probably wrapped it with plastic in the airport (it is more likely if you traveled to a poor country). Once you crossed the security checks, some people put their bags in a platform, insert a coin (to get the plastic film out), and turn the baggage until it is absolutely wrapped in plastic and it is impossible to be opened without being discovered.
Now, imagine yourself working in a big delivery facility, and trying to wrap a pallet with three hundred kg of merchandise. Fortunately, there is a machine capable of making that job in seconds without effort: the stretch wrapping machine. Supermarkets, construction… maybe you don’t realized it, but wherever are the pallets, are now these machines.
In modern towns, with long streets and wide sidewalks is hard to imagine a clasical street-sweeper trying to keep clean a street. They have been replaced elsewhere by these small trucks with round brushes and a worker in yellow dresses, but comfortably seated in the cabin, while the machine clean an incredible amount of square meters per hour. It’s now part of the urban landscape as its little cousin, the famous Roomba, is silently wining the battle against the broom.
Automated teller machine
I can’t sincerely remember the last time I went to a bank to get cash. In my mind, banks are only the places where people wait in queues until the teller solves a ridiculous problem that can be solved in most times in a few minutes in the website of that bank. In the ATM there’s no regards, you can’t see the eyes of the teller scrutinizing you, then the check, then you again, and then getting off the money. In the ATM you can’t protest about how much the gas company is rising the prices year after year. Maybe is just efficient because it doesn’t allow nobody to waste its working time, but actually it is simply efficient.