What if we started considering robots as paid employees based on the hours they worked? This is the suggestion coming from the United States, where a model that allows the use of leased robots is spreading.
Robots are called upon to carry out simple and repetitive operations. Their use allows companies to assign a more complex task to the worker previously employed in that operation.
This solution facilitates the increase in production and a decrease in spending, since a robot costs the equivalent of eight dollars an hour, compared to the fifteen expected for the minimum wage of a worker in Chicago.
The pay-as-you-go solution
This is a method that supports small businesses, reluctant to shell out large amounts of money, in order to achieve a rapid spread of automation in all realities of the secondary sector.
We are thus witnessing the affirmation of the pay-as-you-go formula.
Thinking of robots as employees can help change the economic fabric, favoring the construction of more solid companies, capable of exploiting the extrapolated data to perfect their products and services.
Similarities with information technology
The current state of robotics is in fact comparable to that of information technology before personal computers took hold, that is, when only the richest companies could afford to invest in huge IT systems and related programming and maintenance costs.
In recent years, work has therefore been done to make robots more accessible both operationally and economically. This last factor is made possible, in particular, by the decrease in the costs of sensors and other components.
Robotics as a service
These innovations and the growing demand for automation among small companies are fueling interest in robotics as a service.
Not surprisingly, a 2018 market analysis predicted that the number of leased or subscription software-based industrial robots will grow from 4442 units in 2016 to 1.3 million in 2026. Data that we can also consider revealing the growing demand e-commerce.
Consequences on the workplace
Last but not least, the integration of artificial intelligence and robotics will increase the efficiency of companies employed in any sector. But it will also cause a profound reorganization of work, with a notable impact on staff. The data, for the moment, are meager and conflicting. So what will be the consequences of using robots as hourly workers? Will there be a reduction in jobs and wages or will the process help create new jobs and more flexibility in working practices?