Report: Robots and automation to take over millions of jobs

Published: Jan. 24, 2019 at 3:58 PM EST
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Technology often makes our lives easier but a new report finds robots and automation is threatening to take over millions of jobs.

In California, a company called Iron Ox is testing robots for tasks normally done by farm workers, like seeding and harvesting.

"Our goal is to use technology like robotics and machine learning to be able

to grow produce at better quality, more consistently and cheaper," said Brandon Alexander the company's CEO.

Farming is just one of the jobs that technology could eventually take over from humans.

"There is going to be more change in the workplace," said Mark Muro, the lead author of a new report from the Brookings Institution that finds about 36 million Americans have jobs that could be automated in the coming decades.

"Working in restaurants, in the service sector, are going to be hard hit."

Many restaurants already offer ordering kiosks instead of cashiers.

Cali-Burger uses a robot named Flippy to do the cook's work. And companies are also testing machines to serve food as well.

But many other industries could be affected. There are robots that can make deliveries, and autonomous vehicles are being designed and tested to one day replace truckers and taxi drivers.

Muro says people without college degrees, in low paying jobs will be hardest hit. "A big question is what happens in the next recession? Recessions are when automation kick in most as workers become more expensive for companies," he said.

If robots boost the bottom line for businesses, economists believe that can lead to lower prices for consumers. But it will come at a cost for millions of workers.