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Robophobia in society

23 July 2019

Amid the science-fiction-fueled fear that robots are taking over, we look at the positive impact that robotics bring to society, as well as the warehouse. Is this a normal part of innovation, or does robophobia threaten the evolution of technology?

The use of robotics in warehousing, manufacturing and other sectors is increasing. Some countries, such as Japan, have long embraced robotics for a variety of uses. At the same time, there has also been a rise in “robophobia,” brought on by science fiction writers and filmmakers.

Robophobia vs. fear of change

Robophobia describes an irrational anxiety about robots and other advanced automation machines. Many famous figures, including Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk have expressed their concerns about robots taking over. 

But this is not the first time that innovation has been challenged by tales of fear and dread. In the 19th century, an alarming number of newspaper articles told stories of ordinary men suddenly losing their minds while traveling on the newly developed Victorian railways. 

It is not until we stop to think about it that we realize how much of a role robotics play in modern day living. Advances in technology are accountable for healthier, happier and longer lives, and they are primarily there to help humans. We are constantly looking for ways to make our daily lives easier, and, often, robots are the answer.

The positive impact in the warehouse

Many people still have the mindset of robotics working only for a specific product or industry.  In fact, over 2,000 global brands have already transformed their logistics automation with Swisslog solutions.

With more time for essential tasks and a higher rate of accuracy, using robots in warehouses goes a long way toward enhancing human efficiencies and making processes significantly smarter. Among other things, robots offer clear benefits when it comes to reliability, as they do not require breaks or sick days. Switching from a two-shift operation to a three-shift one is possible at any time, too, allowing companies to respond flexibly and efficiently to order peaks such as the holiday season.

The take away is this: Robotics and automation clearly offer more opportunities than risks in both everyday life and in the warehouse. But only if we embrace them as drivers of future growth, rather than sci-fi super villains.

Read the full Robophobia in Society blog post at swisslog.com/blog