The robot workforce is coming

Labor shortages and other factors are pushing countries to adopt automation.

Selina Lee

Dystopian movies have been fantasizing about robot uprisings for years.

While the global labor force is still dominated by humans, the robot workforce is rising quickly, per Rest of World.

In South Korea…

… the trend is driven by:

  • Minimum wage, which is up 5% in the last year and has been rising steadily since 2016
  • The Serious Disasters Punishment Act, which makes companies liable when a worker dies or is seriously injured on the job

While the law was meant to improve industrial safety standards, it’s unintentionally pushed companies to accelerate their shift toward automation.

Elsewhere…

… the biggest reason for the robot revolution is to fill gaps in the workplace. In the US, Singapore, and Japan, robots are on the rise in response to labor shortages.

While most robot jobs are behind the scenes, some Singaporean companies are using them for customer-facing jobs, including baristas.

The good news? Even South Korea has less than one robot for every 10 human workers — so it’ll be a while before we reach a truly dystopian scenario.

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