(ORDO NEWS) — Having lost jobs due to the spread of robotics, people are falling into despair.
A group of American scientists conducted an unusual study with the support of the US Social Security Administration. After considering the impact of automation on people’s lives, experts found a connection with an increase in mortality.
“For decades, manufacturers in the United States have turned to automation to remain competitive in the global marketplace.
But this technological innovation has reduced the number of quality jobs available to adults without a college education, a group that has seen a rise in mortality in recent years,” said study lead author Rourke O’Brien, associate professor of sociology.
Automation is a major driver of US manufacturing job losses along with other factors including competition from manufacturers in countries with lower labor costs such as China and Mexico.
Previous research has shown that the introduction of industrial robots resulted in between 420,000 and 750,000 job losses in the 1990s and 2000s, most of which were in manufacturing.
At the same time, since 1980, the death rate in the United States has been different from that of other high-income countries.
Today, Americans die on average three years earlier than their peers in other wealthy countries. To understand the contribution of automation to this trend, the researchers looked at industry-specific statistics from 1993 to 2007. These rates were combined with death data for the same years.
Estimates showed that each new robot that replaced 1,000 workers resulted in about eight additional deaths per 100,000 men aged 45 to 54, and almost four additional deaths per 100,000 women in the same age group.
In particular, there has been a significant rise in “despair deaths” with an increase in suicide among middle-aged men, and an increase in drug overdoses among men of all ages and women aged 20 to 29. In addition, job losses and lower wages due to automation have increased homicide, cancer, and cardiovascular disease across age groups.
The researchers proposed to the authorities a package of measures aimed at mitigating the harmful effects of automation – these are steps in the field of social protection system and labor market policy.
Meanwhile, robots are not only replacing low-skilled workers – they are already performing serious surgical operations. And they do it better than humans.
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