ERIC Number: ED236408
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Mar-18
Reference Count: N/A
The Impact of Robotics on Employment. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Economic Goals and Intergovernmental Policy of the Joint Economic Committee, Congress of the United States, Ninety-Eighth Congress. First Session.
Joint Economic Committee, Washington, DC.
This document is a transcript of a fact-finding hearing conducted to evaluate the prospective impact of robotics (the use of sophisticated programmable or computer-controlled robots to perform routine and repetitious tasks) on employment in this country. Testimony and prepared reports were given by John Andelin, assistant director of Science, Information, and Natural Resources, Office of Technology Assessment, and by Robert U. Ayres, professor of engineering and public policy, Carnegie-Mellon University. Mr. Andelin's testimony stressed four points: first, robots are but one component of a larger programmable automation phenomenon; second, specific employment impacts are hard to predict, and he lacks confidence in those predictions currently publicized; third, changes in the number of jobs are only one of the consequences of increasing use of programmable automation, another important one being changes in the quality of jobs; fourth, and finally, while new instructional programs for persons who may use or produce programmable automation are emerging from several sources, curriculum development, change, and delivery are not proceeding in a coordinated fashion. Mr. Ayers said that, to date, about 5,000 robots are being used in U.S. industry and that their use has caused little displacement of workers so far. However, it is important to consider the potential for future job displacement by robots in industry over the next several decades. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that displaced workers are likely to be concentrated in regions of the country that are already depressed, are unable to move because of difficulty in selling their homes, and are likely to be middle-aged and, therefore, fearful of change. These factors could cause social problems or noncompetitiveness in the world economy if they are not addressed. (KC)
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Joint Economic Committee, Washington, DC.