The rise of robotics will not put people out of jobs, says Nanuk Asset Management. In fact, it is likely to do the opposite.
Speaking in Sydney on Wednesday, Nanuk Asset Management portfolio manager Binya Even defended against concerns that the increasing adoption of automation and robotics was rendering employees redundant.
“There are a lot of kinds of dystopian fears that there’ll be mass unemployment, that everything will be done by robots.
“But if we look at the medium term, say the next five to 10 years, I think robots can be a very positive influence to society,” Mr Even said.
He referred to a number of new technological developments and applications for robotics that were beginning to emerge.
“Having robots that improve medical outcomes, having robots that reduce the costs of manufactured goods, of groceries, of any household part — that is good for people,” Mr Even said.
He pointed to China as an example of how manufacturing employees working alongside automation and ‘cobots’, or collaborative robots, has had the effect of raising the wage.
Source: Nanuk Asset Management
“They’ve had massive increases of automation, albeit from a very low base, and the result hasn’t been an increase in unemployment — they’ve actually had very steady low unemployment.
“It’s [seen] a massive increase in wages because workers are so much more productive.”
He acknowledged that the base wage in China was much lower than in western countries, but he pointed out that wage growth had nonetheless “been pretty stagnant because productivity has been very, very poor over the last year”.
The portfolio manager said: “There’s been a lack of productivity growth. And so [for] all of these economies, an increase in productivity growth is just what we need.
“And robots are by no means a panacea, but they can help be part of the solution.”