Human Factors beyond the Workplace: A Social Context for Robotics
This discussion of the influence of robotics on the individual and society addresses three major topics: (1) the current employment picture and future expectations; (2) developments in the robotics industry and their impact on the changing character of work; and (3) the implications of these changes for both society and the individual worker. The impact of the information revolution on the workplace is reviewed, an employment picture for 12 occupations is projected for the year 2000, and additional changes that robotics and other technologies will bring to society are discussed. An overview is given of the impact of robotics on the types of jobs that will be available, the kind of training that workers will need, and the plight of the displaced worker, including predictions of the levels of automation in industry for the years 1985 to 1990. Summaries are provided of five major reports on the social impact of robotics from Carnegie-Mellon University (1981), the Joint Economic Committee (1982), the Office of Technology Assessment (1982), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the University of Michigan (1982), and the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research (1982) respectively. Concluding statements include six recommendations designed to help restore the competitiveness of U.S. industry in the work marketplace that were developed by the National Research Council and the Business-Higher Education Forum, and a brief discussion of ways in which the robotics industry can respond to social change. A 12-item bibliography is provided. (JB)
Warnat, W.I. Human Factors beyond the Workplace: A Social Context for Robotics.