Naperville Business Attorney Discusses the Future of Industrial Automation

automation, Naperville business attorneyIt is the nature of business to look for easier and more efficient ways to complete a given task. The idea can be traced back many centuries to the invention of the wheel and, eventually, windmills—machines that harnessed the power of moving air to grind grain into usable flour. While today’s manufacturing robots and high-tech computer-guided tools may be a far cry from the windmills of bygone eras, they are connected by the idea that automation plays a role in virtually every industry.

As a business owner and a business law attorney, I understand the appeal of equipment and software that can be used to automate certain aspects of a company, from manufacturing to financial processes and many other applications. But, have we reached the point where automation is poised to make a fundamental change in the value of the human worker? According to at least one industry leader, we may not be there yet, but the time may be coming sooner than we realize.

Automation and Universal Basic Income

Elon Musk is the founder of two of the most talked about tech companies in the world: Tesla and SpaceX. While SpaceX has directed its efforts toward realizing the goal of private space travel accessible to a wide segment of the general public, Telsa has famously become an industry leader in self-driving cars and autonomous vehicle technology. Musk understands the value of automation as well as anyone, but he believes that we are quickly approaching a tipping point.

On a number of occasions, Musk has gone on record saying the rise of large-scale automation will eventually lead to the need for a universal basic income for all citizens. Universal basic income is essentially a paycheck provided to an individual by the government in lieu of standard working wages. “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better,” Musk told an audience at the World Government Summit in Dubai earlier this year. He went to clarify that he does not hope the average worker will be out of a job, but he sees technology continuing along this course until it becomes inevitable.

There have already been several studies which have estimated that as many as 50 percent of American jobs could be threatened or replaced by automated machines by 2030. Even more jobs could end up threatened in less developed countries.

An Evolving Economy

While the concept of a universal basic income may seem outlandish to those accustomed to the version of capitalism currently in use in the United States, Musk and other industry leaders say that if such a program becomes necessary, the economy itself will have radically changed. “With automation will come abundance. Almost everything will get very cheap,” Musk said. Thus, a universal basic income may be more realistic at that point than many might think.

Musk and others realize, however, that there may be other problems, such as issues with a person’s purpose. “If there’s no need for your labor, what’s your meaning? Do you feel useless?” he observed. “That’s a much harder problem to deal with.”

Automation for Your Company

If you are considering implementing various types of automation into your company’s operations, from robotic machinery to automated software, we can help you understand the potential impact to your workers. Contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney to get the help you need. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.



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