Seeking to explore power as crucial factor in the design of the built environment, we will look at energy systems and related objects, from sites of generation to spaces of consumption, from distribution networks to control rooms.

Tutors: Filip Geerts and Sanne van den Breemer
Director of Studies: Salomon Frausto

Contributors: Santiago Ardila, Juan Benavides, Daniella Camarena, Stef Dingen, Marco Fusco, Jack Garay Arauzo, Theodora Gelali, Shaiwanti Gupta, Hao Hsu, Marianthi Papangelopoulou, Felipe Quintero, Gent Shehu, Siyuan Wang

“Job-stealing Robots“

Public Opinion, High-Tech, Consumption, Global, Automation, Technology, Culture, Governance, Economy, Image

According to the IFR (International Federation of Robotics) Japan is the largest manufacturer of industrial robots worldwide, supplying 56 percent globally. Nonetheless it places fourth in the 2016 ranking with 303 robots installed per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry. On the other hand, France ranks 18 with 132 units, proportionally lower by European standards.1 Companies like Sepro Robotique, based at La Roche-sur-Yon, founded by Jean-Michel Renaudeau is trying to make his way into the global market, highlighting the interest of rich countries in the robotic race.2
    Both Japan and France are affected by the same debates, a global anxiety regarding loss of jobs due to the new industrial robots developed. day by day these technologies permeate more fields. Automotive, electronic, metal, machinery, plastic products, food, amongst other industries are seeing growing numbers of human force replacements. Additionally, white collar jobs are also threatened in hospitality, hotels, nursing homes, transportation and logistics have now a reason to be worried, but today robots still have a long way to go, to fulfil human warmth. Robots might also be more efficient but therefore will need more energy to power them 24/7.3 Forbes foresees around 800 million jobs lost by automation in the next few decades, but it also contradicts itself mentioning: “Interestingly, countries with the most robots are also the richest and have the lowest unemployment rates.” However, it is easier for the working class to see which jobs are Robots Stealing, rather than the positive perspective of developers and investors about the potential new jobs created by the new industry.4 Foxconn’s general manager of automation technology Dai Chia-peng says. “We need system programmers, automation engineers and maintenance technicians working on automated production lines to ensure smooth operations.”
    Fast paced automation is changing the way we work and think about personal financial stability, it is also changing the spaces in which we work, transitioning to a new type of Post-human architecture, creating yet more debates. To mitigate the effects of this Robotic Revolution, the World Economic Forum proposes some initiatives such as robot tax, human job quotas, universal basic income, negative income tax, Government job guarantee and broader social safety net to assure the most impacted.

1. Christopher Muller, International Federation of Robotics 2019 Report, 2019
2. French-made robots replace humans as automation rises, The Connexion, 2018
3. Ariana King, “Job-stealing robots stoke concerns in Japan about inequality”, Nikkei Asian Review, 2018
4. John Koetsier, Jobs And Robots: 25 Countries Ranked On Job Loss Potential From Automation, Robotics, And AI, Forbes, 2018