Association for Advancing Automation criticizes 60 Minutes segment on robotics

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) is none too pleased with this Sunday’s “March of the Machines” segment on 60 Minutes, where Steve Kroft reported on how technological advances like robotics are revolutionizing the workplace but may be preventing job growth. A3 is an umbrella group for Robotic Industries Association, AIA-Advancing Vision + Imaging, and Motion Control Association, and a global advocate for the automation industry.

“While the 60 Minutes depiction of how technological advances in automation and robotics are revolutionizing the workplace was spot on, their focus on how implementation of these automation technologies eliminates jobs could not be more wrong,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “We provided 60 minutes producers several examples of innovative American companies who have used automation to become stronger global competitors, saving and creating more jobs while producing higher quality and lower cost products, rather than closing up shop or sending jobs overseas. They unfortunately chose not to include these companies in their segment. With respect to MIT Professors Brynjolfsson and McAfee who gave their viewpoint in the piece, they are missing the bigger picture.”

Dr. Henrik Christensen, KUKA chair of robotics and director of robotics at Georgia Institute of Technology, also had negative thoughts on the segment, stating “To paint advances in technology as just taking jobs is very one-sided. Studies have shown that 1.3 better, higher paying jobs are created in associated areas for every one job that may be insourced. In fact, the larger issue is companies are having trouble finding qualified employees to fill these high-tech job openings. We instead should focus on how best to educate our workforce in the United States so that we can remain the leader in automation technologies.”

-Bill O’Leary

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