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Robots in the Workplace: An Essay

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A robot is a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically. Also, it is a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer. This is achieved through artificial intelligence (AI). AI is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.

Advantages of Using Robots in the Workplace

An advantage of using robots in the workplace is safety. Industries that work with heavy machinery, machinery that runs at hot temperatures and machinery, and objects that can cause harm to human beings are best utilized by robots. An industry that appreciates safety with the use of robotics in the workplace is welding. Welding requires professionals to work with extremely hot temperatures and carry out precise tasks during their shifts. However, the use of robots to decrease welding dangers have become more prominent. Statistics show that robotic welding makes up 29% of welding applications and Arc welding is a particularly good fit for robotics when it comes to safety. This is because arc welding involves the use of both chemicals and hot temperatures, which are very dangerous elements to human beings.

Therefore, the use of robots in the workplace, especially high-risk jobs would be beneficial in that industry. However, it could be argued that robots also can cause as much harm in the industry, rather than prevent harm. But, based on the Three Laws of Robotics, a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm (Isaac Asimov, 1942). This further supports the notion that robots in the workplace is beneficial to the industry.

Another advantage of using robots in the workplace is speed. Unlike humans, robots do not get distracted by things around them, nor do they participate in productivity reductive activities such as taking breaks. Robots also do not require training sessions, nor do they take time ‘off’ or go on annual leave. These qualities ensure high speed and increased productivity in the workplace. Robotic machines that are best known for increasing speed and productivity are drones. A drone is a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems (IOT, 2016). An industry that utilizes drones to increase speed and productivity is Amazon. In 2016, Amazon introduced ‘Prime Air’ – a fully autonomous delivery service that aims to deliver products ordered in 30 minutes or less, as opposed to 3-5 working days.

This is an opportunity where the use of robots in the workplace has been beneficial, as increased delivery time will ensure more sales for Amazon, which in turn leads to increased revenue. However, discussions around air safety were the focal point of delivery via drones. Incorporating drones into the air can raise several health and safety issues for airspace users. This was mitigated by Amazon by creating and designing an air traffic management system that will recognize who is flying what drone, where they are flying, and whether they are adhering to operating requirements (Amazon, 2016). Therefore, the use of robots in the workplace is beneficial to both companies and consumers.

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Disadvantages of Robots in the Workplace

Although robots in the workplace can increase efficiency and productivity, an advantage of using robots in the workplace is they can increase unemployment rates. The use of robots in the workplace reduced the chances of employment in the industry, this is known as technological unemployment. for example, human labor is no longer required in many factories and manufacturing plants. A professional that could be threatened by the rise of technological unemployment is drivers. Autonomous vehicles owned by companies like Uber will have a huge impact on professional human taxi drivers. For example, Aptiv Lyft BMW self-driving car demonstrates how a car functions manually without the need or use of a human driver. Lyft and Uber are online taxi services that are already overtaking traditional taxi services. Therefore, the use of autonomous driverless cars will further threaten taxi drivers.

However, human trust would be essential in the success of autonomous driverless cars. Humans are very cautious when it comes to health and safety, therefore, they would need to trust that a driverless car would be able to get them to their destination unharmed, this is where the moral status would be necessary. According to Dr. John Danaher, ethical behaviorism refers to the behavioral representations of another entity toward you are a sufficient ground for determining their moral status (Danaher, 2019). In other words, if a vehicle looks and drives like a car, then one should assume it functions like a car. Autonomous cars without a moral status could be detrimental to the industry, by not only causing technological unemployment, but also causing harm to passengers.

Another disadvantage of using robots in the workplace is that robots are computer programmed, without feelings or emotional connections. For example, artificial intelligence in medical advancements and hospitals raise ethical considerations. There are concerns around the loss of the ‘human touch’ factor in a people-focused profession. Therefore, using AI in hospitals may not be celebrated to attend to patients, but could be used to further medical advancements. An example of where robots have been used as caregivers is in nursing. Reports show that in Japan, there are about 5,000 nursing-care homes testing robots for use in nursing care due to the declining number of human nurses to care for aged people. This raises many ethical and moral issues as machines and computers being forefront care delivers juxtaposes the level of intimacy and empathetic nature of being in a hospital. This is an opportunity where the use of robots can be detrimental to the workplace. Due to this, I would give robots in the workplace a couple of moral statuses, such as compassion, empathy, and responsibility.

On the other side, an example of where AI has been used to further medical advancements in the workplace is to rehabilitate and augment. Rehabilitation robots help people with disabilities, including improved mobility, strength, coordination, and quality of life. These robots can be programmed to adapt to the condition of each patient as they recover from strokes, traumatic brain, or spinal cord injuries, or neurobehavioral or neuromuscular diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Therefore, robots used in the workplace such as hospitals could be detrimental to patients, but robots used to further medical advancements could be beneficial.

Conclusion

Summing up all the above, robots in the workplace can be beneficial to the industry as they speed up work, in turn increasing productivity and freeing up time for human workers to other important jobs. They also provide increase safety by doing the tasks too dangerous for humans to do, such as SmokeBot, a fire-ready robot used to monitor the progression of fires in buildings. They also have other beneficial functions such as consistency, perfection, and productivity. However, the use of robots in the workplace is frowned upon as people fear technological unemployment. The rise of robots doing human jobs can use unemployment as they are seen as ‘taking over’ jobs meant for humans. Besides, robotics in the workplace can raise ethical issues – which is why a moral status for robots in the workplace needs to be established.

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Robots in the Workplace: An Essay. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/robots-in-the-workplace-an-essay/
“Robots in the Workplace: An Essay.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/robots-in-the-workplace-an-essay/
Robots in the Workplace: An Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/robots-in-the-workplace-an-essay/> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2023].
Robots in the Workplace: An Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Jan 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/robots-in-the-workplace-an-essay/
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