Is COVID an alarm for us to shift towards Automation and Robotics?

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Robotics and Automation
Robotics and Automation

Companies that use technology to improve their operations help to enhance global trade! Does this imply the end of the labor market? Let’s go through what happened in the Robotics and Automation sectors during the pandemic. Had COVID-19 accelerated the use of Automation? What does this mean for the worker?

Let’s see how the world perceives COVID-19 and Automation

Automation and Robotics
Automation and Robotics

When the COVID-19 rattled the earth, it not only jeopardized human health. It also presented a long-term threat to people’s jobs.

Companies are automating service sector employment in response to manpower shortages and rising labor expenses. At the same time, companies across a variety of industries are increasing their usage of robots, chatbots, and autonomous cars. These innovations provide patients with contactless care, monitor grocery store inventory levels, and link the elderly to their loved ones. COVID-19 is radically changing the way we work, from sending people home in droves to limiting in-person professional encounters.

Uses of automation across the globe:

For instance, an Arby drive-thru in the east of Los Angles is using Tori, an artificial intelligence voice assistant. It will take your orders and pass them to the line cooks. Similarly, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital of Dublin is using software robots to speed up the process of COVID-19 test results. When the business owners were questioned about the deployment of automation in work, they responded by saying that automation is reliable. Moreover, it neither calls sick nor gets corona. As a result, workforce automation appears to be set to increase, which was a topic of talk in recent years.

Over the last few years, China has led the world in industrial robot density, with 154,000 robots installed in 2018. Japan, the United States, and South Korea are following the pace with the installation of 55,200, 40,400, and 37,800 industrial robots respectively. However, the use of industrial robots is on the rise around the world. COVID-19 has a swift impact on how we live, work, and advocate for our health. Robots are stepping in at an unprecedented scale. They not only clean and sanitize surfaces, but also scan for fevers and enforce mask-wearing. They conduct grocery store stock analysis and also deliver food and medical supplies, among a variety of other tasks.

Where does Nepal as a country stand in terms of Automation and Robotics?

The IT industry is just emerging in Nepal. In the coming years, IT has the potential to generate enormous development, investment, and profitability. And it is predicted that IT will be one of the most salient growth contributors to the Nepali economy. In terms of the current situation, Nepal has more than a hundred IT enterprises. However, just a small percentage of them have apt Robotics and Automation. Nonetheless, the work done in the field of Automation and Robotics is especially noteworthy. Nepal is gradually incorporating robotics into agriculture, healthcare, hospitality, and other sectors. The success of Naulo, the first robotics restaurant in South Asia, located in Durbarmarg, Kathmandu, and Nepal Flying Labs who has deployed drones when disaster strikes, is a good example to back this assertion.

Also Read: AI in Agriculture: A Necessary Stepping Stone?

Is it possible that the Pandemic will accelerate the growth of Robotics and Automation in Nepal?

Automation and Robotics
Automation and Robotics

The surge in the number of cases jeopardized the safety of healthcare professionals. It instilled dread in patients and frontline staff. The statewide lockdown enforced by the government of Nepal in March didn’t help either. At that time the Robotics Association of Nepal and Sagarmatha Engineering College created SISTER, a remotely controlled robot that delivers medicines, food, and information to patients in isolation wards with UNDP sponsorship. SISTER was given to several hospitals across the country to help them with their operations. Similarly, Paaila Technology, Nepalese robotics, and AI company converted its previously created navigating robots into nursing robots for use in hospital isolation rooms. At the same time, Paaila Technology and Nepal Innovation Center developed low-cost ventilators made from locally available resources. This step provided aid to fulfill the increasing demand for ventilators during Covid-19.

Following the response of Nepali innovators, the country’s IT community is undeniably optimistic about the expansion of the local robotics and automation industry. However, all relevant parties must identify and advance the role of robotics and AI in Nepal’s socio-economic setting to translate the perceived potential into results. If the correct steps are taken, the pandemic has the potential to usher in a new era in Nepal’s Robotics and Automation industry.

Accelerating Automation means losing a job?

Automation and Robotics
Automation and Robotics

Let’s hear what people have to say about it.

“There is nothing automatic about automation destroying jobs, although it always changes the character of jobs,” said Diane Coyle, a professor at the University of Cambridge. “What happens depends on the skills of the people working with the machines.”

Overall, in the next five years, “digitalization will create more jobs in industrialized countries than it destroys“, according to Thiess Petersen, economist and senior adviser at the Bertelsmann Foundation, a think-tank.

Ideally, automation can redeploy workers into better and more interesting work, so long as they can get the appropriate technical training, says Johannes Moenius, an economist at the University of Redlands.

Since the invention of computers, many people have projected that computers will replace human workers and leave them jobless. That, however, is not the case. For instance, your job required you to enter invoices into an excel file and mail them to your supervisor every day. You have two choices: It’s either a software robot or you. Do you want RPA (Robotics Process Automation) to complete that activity for you regularly or do you want to repeat the process every day? Unless you despise a simple procedure, the solution is obvious.

Reducing your most fundamental work does not imply that robots will take over your employment in the future. Let us not forget that we need to operate these robots. It is safe to assume that if we stay current with technology, we will not lose our jobs. As a result, rather than eliminating our employment, it will generate numerous opportunities that will benefit both businesses and employees.

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