Technological advances, especially robotics, are revolutionizing the workplace, but not necessarily creating jobs. Steve Kroft reports.


Are robots hurting job growth?


The robot waltz: An appreciation

January 13, 2013 5:00 PM


Category: Employment, Video

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6 Responses to “60 Minutes: Robots vs Job Growth”

  1. dryfly says:

    Great vid…

    An interesting story I was told by a customer on a visit: we were trying to do additional work for the large MNC corporation he works for and going through the buyers ‘portfolio’ of purchased parts with him. We saw a part that looked like a good fit for our facility. Buyer said “Don’t waste your time. It is made in China – very inexpensive.” We just assumed ‘cheap’ was a result of unfavorable labor rate differential… buyer said “More than just that. They are also one of the most heavily automated of any of our suppliers worldwide. They are way more automated than you are.” We run a small but reasonably modern manufacturing plant in America’s ‘heartland’. Near Chicago.

    We were shocked and asked – why did they do that?

    He said “The labor rates have gone up there true but that wasn’t the driver. By automating they now have PPMs as low in that plant as anywhere in the world. They did it to improve quality and delivery performance. It has worked wonders for them.”

    [For those not in manufacturing PPM means 'parts per million' - low PPM means very high quality]

    That also means that plant employs a lot fewer people. Considering how many people in China are directly or indirectly employed in labor intensive manufacturing – if this trend expands there are going to be social and political consequences.

    Thanks for all you do BR…

  2. Jojo says:

    Robots are going to eat humans lunch. In 20-23 years, 90% of us will be unemployed. Now is the time to rise up and smash the robots before they become our new overlords!

    How about robot prison guards?

    Robot Prison Guards to Join Human Watchmen
    Jeremy Hsu, Innovation News Daily Senior Writer
    November 28 2011

    U.S. battlefield drones have unleashed deadly fire from the sky for years, but robots have yet to prove as capable in keeping human prisoners or rioters in line. South Korea’s Ministry of Justice wants to test out such less-lethal robotic roles by deploying possibly the world’s first robot prison guards next year.

    Or robot musicians?

    Robot band
    Compressorhead Ace of Spades

  3. Frilton Miedman says:

    Keynes 15 hour work week?

    Back around 1930 he projected it was likely within 100 years.

    Stepping outside petty semantics in politics, one could say part of what we’re in the midst of is a battle of whether the benefits of automation should be shared by the whole versus solely the owners of said automation.

    From a simplistic view, it seems inevitable as employment participation rate drops and productivity increases, the number of hours worked to service the population would decrease.

  4. tradeking13 says:

    Can Baxter be programmed to fire the employee after being fully trained?

  5. romerjt says:

    This is a hard one. We’ve all heard this before is it possible that someday it will come true, or maybe it has already and we just don’t know it. On the other hand we just can’t imagine how people will be employed in the future just like who could have imagined people would be employed by a company enabling people to send 140 character e-mails.

  6. rick111 says:

    Hi Barry, interesting post. Robots allow owning the labor force, i.e. converting capital to slaves. Josh Brown gave the answer here:

    Not everyone can own the robots. The future may not be so good. This is a bit long but interesting :