As Americans exit the workforce for various reasons, businesses are struggling to hire and retain employees. Perhaps the solution is one we have been fighting against. Artificial intelligence-equipped robots have crept their way into all kinds of industries. The labor shortage – partly fueled by what has become known as The Great Resignation – and social distancing requirements of the pandemic forced companies to rely on technology as they laid-off workers. As we transition out of this pandemic and exit “survival mode,” we will have to decide the role machines play in our future. Moreover, are we looking at the perfect recipe for socialism?
Whether it be burnout, unfair wages, poor working conditions, or just laziness, Americans are quitting their jobs in hopes of finding a manageable balance between work and life – causing a mass exodus from the workplace. Nurses are fed up with being overworked, underappreciated, and underpaid. Others, predominantly from the Generation Z and Millennial age groups, are not working at all or working for themselves, pursuing social media careers or entrepreneurship. This has left us with a shortage of employees in all sorts of sectors: the service industry, hospitality, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.
Solutions to this issue include hiring incentives, increasing pay, and prioritizing what matters to employees. Another answer could be something to which we have historically been resistant.
You can now rent a robot worker for less than paying a human. For only $8 an hour, compared to the $15 minimum wage, any business can rent a robot from Formic, an innovative rental company that claims to have “democratized” automated systems. Thousands of companies have adopted this new, efficient, and cheaper employee. Formic’s robots do not physically impersonate humans. They are limbs programmed to complete repetitive inspections, welding, material handling, painting, assembly, and maintenance.
These robots appear to be the perfect solution for any employer looking to increase productivity or fill vacancies. They do not complain or require health insurance, days off, or breaks. But, if we begin heading down this path of displacing Americans to hire robots, where does it end? Experts warn these machines may take over customer service, manual labor, data entry, textile, receptionist, and assembly line jobs over the next decade.
There are typically a few common arguments many people hold when discussing the implementation of robots into the workforce. It is more cost-effective to hire a robot over a human. But what happens to that human that lost their job? A typical answer is, “they can be retrained to do something else such as computer science.” But who is going to pay for the retraining? What if someone who worked in a factory their whole life does not want to learn to code?
Having a job is not only about making money. It is a learning experience. You acquire a different set of skills in each industry, but across the board, your retail or waitressing job does more for you than putting money in your bank account. If we increase our reliance on automation in the working-class sector, where will our fellow Americans turn to as they lose their jobs to a bot?
Reliance On Government
Having robots work for us sounds great until you really start to think about it. We have constructed this social attitude towards having a job that is spreading like wildfire. As previously reported by Liberty Nation, many Americans are pursuing a work-free lifestyle, viewing their job as a burden, inconvenient, and diminishing. This aligns perfectly with the growing socialist agenda: relying on the government.
For too many Americans, a job is no longer viewed as an opportunity for growth, accomplishment, and contribution. Rising up through the ranks in a small business, learning the importance of hard work or becoming an expert in a field through experience breeds independence, self-growth, and self-sustenance. But maybe that’s not what people want anymore. They got a taste of what it’s like to get free money from the government, and they liked it. Granted, millions of Americans suffered financially through the pandemic, but others did not need a stimulus check, and they got it anyway.
Robots are a seemingly perfect trade-off. Implementing them into the workforce helps the employers and their companies fix our Great Resignation problem. But, where will it stop? Can we use automation just to fill in the gaps and boost productivity without displacing American workers? Or will we end up firing humans so a robot can do their job faster and better? It is a slippery slope, and we are unsure where it ends. Our increased reliance on AI could drive us closer to socialism. Depriving Americans of their income could increase the demand for socialist programs, such as universal basic income. The socialist agenda centers around government dependence, and when you rob people of opportunity and give them a taste of what it’s like to rely on the government, it sounds, for too many, all the more appealing.
~Read more from Keelin Ferris