New “Stretch” Robot by Boston Dynamics Accelerates Warehouse Automation

New “Stretch” Robot by Boston Dynamics Accelerates Warehouse Automation

The robots are coming, and they’re about to dramatically change workplaces around the world, including warehouses and distribution facilities. The latest creation by Boston Dynamics is a commercial robot called “Stretch,” which is set to hit the market in 2022. This box-moving bot is capable of unloading trucks, de-palleting shipments, and performing other tasks all using a smart gripper attached to a nimble arm. With a compact base about the size of a pallet, the robot can also maneuver through tight spaces easily. Boston Dynamic’s Companies everywhere have been sampling various automation systems to speed up the flow of […]

Michigan Works! Southeast launches “Workforce@Work” podcast to explore future of employment

Michigan Works! Southeast launches

A new podcast from Ypsilanti-based Michigan Works! Southeast (MWSE) aims to help local job-seekers and employers better understand Southeast Michigan’s rapidly changing job market.

MWSE Executive Director Shamar Herron serves as host for the show, which is called " Workforce@Work ." He says the first season will mostly focus on Industry 4.0 – a term referring to the era of automation in manufacturing and industry – and will continue through June. Herron says he picked Industry 4.0 as the first topic to explore in-depth because "it’s a personal passion of mine, but I also see a larger impact."

"Industry 4.0 is […]

Get prepared for an autonomous future

Get prepared for an autonomous future

(© lidiia – stock.adobe.com) Automation has become a buzzword in recent years but, in reality, it’s nothing new. As humans, we’ve always strived to simplify and mechanize things, usually to minimize our own input and make things easier. From inventing the wheel to creating motor vehicles, automation and mechanization has been central to the evolution of society.

So, why has automation become such a hot topic now? The answer lies in the technological advances we’ve made over the last couple of decades. As artificial intelligence (AI) has become a reality and the potential of Big Data is realized, automation has […]

PwC and World Economic Forum report: Investments in upskilling would lead to the creation of 5.3 million net new jobs by 2030

PwC and World Economic Forum report: Investments in upskilling would lead to the creation of 5.3 million net new jobs by 2030

Cumulative investments of governments and companies in upskilling and reskilling initiatives could boost global GDP by USD 6.5 trillion and create 5.3 million net new jobs by 2030, according to ”Upskilling for Shared Prosperity” report, launched at Davos by PwC and World Economic Forum. China will benefit the most from such an initiative, while the states of Central and Eastern Europe will benefit less, due in part to the structure of the economies and the level of education. “The economies of Central and Eastern Europe still carry the burden of the transition to the free market namely: long-term unemployment, […]

Some California jobs lost to COVID will never be the same. Here’s what experts say

The Sacramento Bee is exploring the future of work in California as the state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The series is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network , a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.

A woman in South Lake Tahoe who had worked as a sales and marketing director at a hotel . A Modesto woman who worked selling motor homes and trailers. A woman in Sacramento who lost her three-decade job as a server at the Sacramento International Airport.

Those are just a few of the 1.4 million Californians […]

Post-Work Migration and the End of America

Post-Work Migration and the End of America

People have always moved to live, from early agrarian societies seeking fertile land to the undocumented workforce that currently powers this country’s agricultural sector. More recent, though, are the systematized and codified restrictions on that movement—telling us who can move where and for how long—and one of their preeminent categories through which this sorting is done has been the all-encompassing notion of “work.”

In the United States, where much of that migration is currently directed, there were more than 28 million foreign-born people working as of 2019, collectively comprising more than 17 percent of the country’s entire workforce. Most are […]

Opportunity, policy, and the future of automation

Opportunity, policy, and the future of automation

Editor’s Note:

This paper was prepared for the December 8, 2020, conference on the Future of Automation and the Middle Class for the Brookings Institution, Future of the Middle Class Initiative.

Despite persistent fears that robots and computers are coming for our jobs, most labor market experts agree that fears (or hopes) for a future where work will be optional, or worse, extremely scarce due to technological change are unlikely . In rare instances, such as the elevator operator, jobs will be rendered completely obsolete. Most jobs, however, will still exist even if fundamentally changed in both task content and […]

Will Smart Machines Kill Jobs or Create Better Ones?

An attendant stands next to a CloudMinds Technology Inc. XR-1 commercial humanoid service robot at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. The conference runs through Aug. 31. In one vision of the not-too-distant future, robots handle half of all work tasks, leaving legions of humans unemployed and insecure. In another scenario, those same technologies revolutionize rather than reduce opportunities for people, creating jobs that have yet to be imagined. Such are the stakes as a new wave of automation reshapes the workplace, accelerated by the pandemic.

Advances in artificial intelligence, or the […]

Supply Chain News: Manufacturing CEO Says Lack of Workers at Crisis Levels

Recently, Ohio-based manufacturing company Ranpak Holdings needed to fill some addition machine operator positions. Historically, CEO Omar Asali says,that wasn’t much of a problem. But now, even in the face of high current unemployment rates, Ranpak struggled to find these new workers at factories across the US.
At Ranpak, the company has added "mobility channels" to help manufacturing employees move from operations into more senior assembly and office roles. Writing on the CNN.com web site, Asali says some of that lack of candidates could be worker reluctance to take a new job in a time of virus pandemic. However, […]

US manufacturers have jobs to fill. Finding workers here at home is the problem

US manufacturers have jobs to fill. Finding workers here at home is the problem

A worker wearing a protective mask and gloves assembles face shields at the Cartamundi-owned Hasbro manufacturing facility in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, U.S., on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Omar Asali is chairman and CEO of Ranpak Holdings Corporation, based in Concord Township, Ohio. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. As CEO of a global manufacturing company, I am focused on our personnel and hiring needs. Our business is defined by our people, and our workforce is crucial to our success. When we can’t find the talent we need, our organization’s potential stagnates.

Recently, at one of our US […]