Chart: Why Industrial Robot Sales are Sky High
Chart: Why Industrial Robot Sales are Sky High
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
Industrial robots have come a long way since George Devol invented “Unimate” in 1961.
After pitching his idea to Joseph Engelberger at a cocktail party, the two soon saw their new creation become the first mass-produced robotic arm to be used in factory automation.
Today, this robot class is raising the bar of global manufacturing to new heights, striking a seamless mix of strength, speed, and precision. As a result, demand for industrial robots keeps growing at a robust 14% per year, setting the stage for 3.1 million industrial robots in operation globally by 2020.
Drivers of Robot Success
Why are industrial robots flying off the shelves at an unprecedented rate?
Significant factors include advancements in machine learning and computer vision, since the prospect of new functionality leads to more use cases and increased demand. In addition, the maturation of 3D printing technology and the soaring interest in collaborative robots also deserve some of the credit.
What’s interesting though, is that according to experts, the record demand for robots is actually largely in response to the notable decline in unit costs.
ARK Investment Management, a leading researcher in this market, says that industrial robot costs are expected to drop a solid 65% between 2015 and 2025. Impressively, the cost per robot will plunge from $31,000 to $11,000 over that decade of time.
A Sudden Cost Decline
Why are unit costs dropping so fast?
For ARK, such price shifts account for the workings of Wright’s Law, which states: “for every cumulative doubling in number of units produced, costs will decline by a consistent percentage”. In the field of robotics that cost decline, also known as the “learning rate”, has been around 50%.
As industrial robotic operations grow, especially in the automotive industry, the manufacturing sector continues to save millions. Meanwhile, working conditions improve as robots take mundane, repetitive, and dangerous task loads from human workers.
At present, the largest market share of industrial robots is held in the Asia-Pacific region – namely, China, Japan, Korea, and India. But as current trends suggest, these falling prices will only steer further global reach.
Which Jobs Will Be Most Impacted by ChatGPT?
OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, have authored a research paper that tries to predict the impact of AI on the job market.
Jobs Most Impacted by ChatGPT and Similar AI Models
On November 30, 2022, OpenAI heralded a new era of artificial intelligence (AI) by introducing ChatGPT to the world.
The AI chatbot stunned users with its human-like and thorough responses. ChatGPT could comprehend and answer a variety of different questions, make suggestions, research and write essays and briefs, and even tell jokes (amongst other tasks).
Many of these skills are used by workers in their jobs across the world, which begs the question: which jobs will be transformed, or even replaced, by generative AI in the coming future?
This infographic from Harrison Schell visualizes the March 2023 findings of OpenAI on the potential labor market impact of large language models (LLMs) and various applications of generative AI, including ChatGPT.
The OpenAI working paper specifically examined the U.S. industries and jobs most “exposed” to large language models like GPT, which the chatbot ChatGPT operates on.
Key to the paper is the definition of what “exposed” actually means:
“A proxy for potential economic impact without distinguishing between labor-augmenting or labor-displacing effects.” – OpenAI
Thus, the results include both jobs where humans could possibly use AI to optimize their work, along with jobs that could potentially be automated altogether.
OpenAI found that 80% of the American workforce belonged to an occupation where at least 10% of their tasks can be done (or aided) by AI. One-fifth of the workforce belonged to an occupation where 50% of work tasks would be impacted by artificial intelligence.
The Jobs Most and Least at Risk of AI Disruption
Here is a list of jobs highlighted in the paper as likely to see (or already seeing) AI disruption, where AI can reduce the time to do tasks associated with the occupation by at least 50%.
Analysis was provided by a variety of human-made models as well as ChatGPT-4 models, with results from both showing below:
|Jobs||Categorized By||AI Exposure|
|Admin and legal assistants||AI||100%|
|Climate change policy analysts||AI||100%|
|Reporters & journalists||AI||100%|
|Mathematicians||Human & AI||100%|
|Writers & authors||Human||100%|
Editor’s note: The paper only highlights some jobs impacted. One AI model found a list of 84 additional jobs that were “fully exposed”, but not all were listed. One human model found 15 additional “fully exposed” jobs that were not listed.
Generally, jobs that require repetitive tasks, some level of data analysis, and routine decision-making were found to face the highest risk of exposure.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, “information processing industries” that involve writing, calculating, and high-level analysis have a higher exposure to LLM-based artificial intelligence. However, science and critical-thinking jobs within those industries negatively correlate with AI exposure.
On the flipside, not every job is likely to be affected. Here’s a list of jobs that are likely least exposed to large language model AI disruption.
|Jobs Least Exposed to AI|
|Large equipment operators||Barbers/hair stylists|
|Glass installers & repairers||Dredge operators|
|Automotive mechanics||Power-line installers/repairers|
|Masons, carpenters, roofers||Oil field maintenance workers|
|Plumbers, painters, pipefitters||Servers, dishwashers, bartenders|
Naturally, hands-on industries like manufacturing, mining, and agriculture were more protected, but still include information processing roles at risk.
Likewise, the in-person service industry is also expected to see minimal impact from these kinds of AI models. But, patterns are beginning to emerge for job-seekers and industries that may have to contend with artificial intelligence soon.
Artificial Intelligence Impacts on Different Levels of Jobs
OpenAI analyzed correlations between AI exposure in the labor market against a job’s requisite education level, wages, and job-training.
The paper found that jobs with higher wages have a higher exposure to LLM-based AI (though there were numerous low-wage jobs with high exposure as well).
|Job Parameter||AI Exposure Correlation|
Professionals with higher education degrees also appeared to be more greatly exposed to AI impact, compared to those without.
However, occupations with a greater level of on-the-job training had the least amount of work tasks exposed, compared to those jobs with little-to-no training.
Will AI’s Impact on the Job Market Be Good or Bad?
The potential impact of ChatGPT and similar AI-driven models on individual job titles depends on several factors, including the nature of the job, the level of automation that is possible, and the exact tasks required.
However, while certain repetitive and predictable tasks can be automated, others that require intangibles like creative input, understanding cultural nuance, reading social cues, or executing good judgement cannot be fully hands-off yet.
And keep in mind that AI exposure isn’t limited to job replacement. Job transformation, with workers utilizing the AI to speed up or improve tasks output, is extremely likely in many of these scenarios. Already, there are employment ads for “AI Whisperers” who can effectively optimize automated responses from generalist AI.
As the AI arms race moves forward at a rapid pace rarely seen before in the history of technology, it likely won’t take long for us to see the full impact of ChatGPT and other LLMs on both jobs and the economy.
Personal Finance4 weeks ago
Ranked: The Best U.S. States for Retirement
Economy2 weeks ago
Visualizing the American Workforce as 100 People
Commodities4 weeks ago
Charted: Commodities vs Equity Valuations (1970–2023)
Energy2 weeks ago
How EV Adoption Will Impact Oil Consumption (2015-2025P)
Money4 weeks ago
Visualizing the Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Banks
Wealth2 weeks ago
Ranked: The World’s Top 50 Endowment Funds
Banks3 weeks ago
Visualized: Real Interest Rates by Country
United States2 weeks ago
Charting the Rise of America’s Debt Ceiling