Robots are outperforming humans

Survey finds that US managers are willing to keep robots even without the cost benefits. 

It is an ongoing debate whether digitisation and automation necessarily result in be fewer jobs. According to a recent study, the "robots taking our jobs" narrative is well and truly alive. The second annual national survey conducted by educational technology firms MindEdge and Skye Learning found that most US managers believe that robots perform higher-quality work than humans and nearly half expect automation to lead to additional job losses over the next five years. The study surveyed 1 047 managers of whom a high proportion (65 percent) said they would keep the same level of automation and robots even if the cost benefits that were expected did not materialise.

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Respondents were not as convinced regarding the security of their own jobs, however, with only a little over half (52 percent) stating they believed their work was immune to the impacts of technology and automation. That said, mangers said they believed their work was safe from being taken over by robots because it requires a high degree of human interaction and empathy, they also think that ongoing skills training is an effective way to help workers future-proof their careers – especially when it comes to improving soft skills such as communications, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

These are the top soft skills that separate workers from machines, ranked in order of importance by respondents, as follows: creative thinking (36 percent), communication (30 percent), complex problem-solving (21 percent), critical thinking (20 percent), decision-making (19 percent) and teamwork (19 percent). 

This adds credence to the view that developing talent for workplaces of the future means educational development should focus strongly on personal attributes, social skills, and communication abilities that support interpersonal relationships and interactions with others. This is so that people can learn from a much younger age how to be better integrate and collaborate with internal and external workplace stakeholders, such as customers, co-workers, and management.