‘Robotics revolutionising labour market’

February 29, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 07:00 am IST - Chennai:

Mr. S. Ramadorai, Chief Executive Officer, Tata Consultancy Services.

Mr. S. Ramadorai, Chief Executive Officer, Tata Consultancy Services.

With increasing deployment of automation and robotics the labour market is set to undergo a dramatic change, resulting in loss of some jobs and creation of new avenues of employment.

To cope up with the change ten years from now one ought to be fluid and flexible enough so that one can move across jobs and disciplines, said S. Ramadorai, Chairman, National Skills Development Agency, delivering the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on the topic, ‘Are we ready for the fourth industrial revolution?’

Citing an example, Mr. Ramadorai explained how the e-commerce industry was a threat to retail malls, but spurred the need for delivery staff. He elucidated on how amazon.com experimented with the use of Kiva robots to move boxes around its fulfilment centres and found the robots so useful that it bought the company that made them.

“Amazon deployed 1,000 Kivas to work at its warehouses. It then ramped that to 10,000 robotic workers, then 15,000. At last report, Amazon had 30,000 robots working for it. To put that in context, Amazon has only 90,000 humans working in its warehouses. As of today, one in every four full-time Amazon warehouse workers is a robot,” he said.

“For young people this means the only job security will be the ability to learn new skills. Replacing humans with robots in manufacturing is a trend that we can’t stop or avoid, but we can be better prepared by being open to learning new skills,” he added.

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