Touch the Soil News #480 (feature photo Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias GNU Free License)
The food chain is one of the backbones of the America economy, representing 20 million workers (almost 12 percent of the American workforce). The entrance of robotics in the food chain is as much driven by financial reasons as it is technology reasons.
Why would the nation’s food chain employ you or your neighbor, if the corporations that dominate the food chain can lower labor costs through robotic deployment? The critical question here is economics and not technology. For example, if robotics can cut out 10 percent of the nation’s labor costs, the overall economy shrinks proportionately. Salaries for robotic engineers has to be less than salaries for the labor it is replacing, otherwise there would be no financial incentive.
According to Agfunder, which follows investments into agricultural technology, new investments in ag tech, including robotics, in the U.S. is about $1 billion every three months. As these inventions are commercialized, their economic uptake will far exceed the initial investments.
At risk are America’s food-chain workers who work in jobs that many of us began our own working careers in. Below are two videos that highlight robotics and a third video (the best) showcasing the scope of food-chain workers.
It is not coincidental financial efficiency principles employed by most corporations to reduce jobs and beneifts will be at the forefront of employing robotics. There are probably few things that can cause more widespread social and political disruption than large numbers of people who don’t feel needed.