The robots, which are valuable allies in the health crisis, but at what price for the job ?

Les robots, précieux alliés dans la crise sanitaire, mais à quel prix pour l’emploi ?

PARIS | When the human contact must be limited to the maximum, they can save lives and plants. But the robots are more visible than ever since the beginning of the pandemic coronavirus, will they also amplify the mass unemployment caused by the crisis ?

It is an articulated arm which serves as a half in a bar in Seville, a humanoid who takes the temperature and makes referrals to university hospital of Antwerp, a robot dog, which distributes the hydroalcoholic gel in a shopping center in Bangkok, a cooler remote control that book of his races to a family from Washington…

These images are increased as the virus spread, and that the world is locked.

“The resistance will disappear “

“From the time where there is a threat to humans, it is necessary to send a robot,” says Cyril Kabbara, co-founder of Sharks Robotics, a French start-up.

His robot Colossus, which helped save Notre-Dame-de-Paris of the flames in 2019, and has been adapted for the decontamination of premises.

“There 4-5 years ago, when we had “Colossus”, we laughed at the nose because the firefighters were saying +these guys are going to make us lose our work+ “, remembers the entrepreneur. Colossus has since been adopted by the firefighter in paris and marseille. “The more we advance, the more the resistance will disappear. “

It is not only in the sectors of hygiene and of the medical that the robots have earned their stripes. “This crisis has been a bit of a demonstrator it is necessary to have a business continuity even if a health crisis or other occurs” retains Cyril Kabbara. “It was a lot of industrial that we say: the robots allow us to continue our business and if we had not, we would be at the stop. “

But the savior of the activity, the robot can quickly make the suit darker, destructive of jobs. “The recession worsened could lead to a surge of automation at the place of employment,” says Mark Muro, of the centre of research, Brookings, Washington, in a note to the site the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The “robophobie” won the China

“Those who suggest that the automation doesn’t remove jobs in the manufacturing sector are wrong,” said Carl Frey, a researcher at the university of Oxford, in an interview with the AFP. He also advances these figures on China, which automates high-speed, with 650 000 machines installed in 2018. And where 12.5 million jobs in the production have disappeared between 2013 and 2017…

However, it is precisely in China that the “robophobie” has exploded with the health crisis, according to a study by IE University, Spain-based: 27% prior to the start of the pandemic, to support the limitation of automation has doubled to 54 %, reaching almost the France (59 %), which holds the record of mistrust.

The more the respondent is young, the less he is a graduate, and the fear of automation is high, the study found. “Historically, technological progress has allowed to create a lot of jobs, but this is less the case in the digital world “, today, with the notable exception of Amazon, writes Carl Frey.

Person to the shelter ?

The jobs that are more skilled, could be threatened by the rise of artificial intelligence, able to perform projects of classification, evaluation, or planning, writes Mark Muro for that ” no group of workers would be safe this time “, in contrast to previous economic crises.

If the correlation between high automation and low unemployment, particularly in Singapore and South Korea, countries more densely robot in the world, Carl Frey does not predict least-the rise of “fear of automation” once the new coronavirus will no longer be the One.

However, it is unlikely to see a global movement to oppose the machines, writes the british scholar, because the main victims will be the industrial areas, already affected by decades of economic downgrading.

Share Button