Technology• Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function.• Technology is AUTOMATION.• Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services.
Advantages• Replacing human operators in tasks that involve hard physical work.• Replacing humans in tasks done in dangerous environments (i.e. fire, space, volcanoes, nuclear facilities, underwater, etc.)• Performing tasks that are beyond human capabilities of size, weight, speed, endurance, etc.• Reduces operation time and work handling time.• Frees up workers to take on other roles.• Provides higher level jobs in the development, deployment, maintenance and running of the automated processes.
Disadvantages• Security Threats: An automated system may have limited level of intelligence, hence it is most likely susceptible to commit error.• Unpredictable development costs: The research and development cost of automating a process may exceed the cost .• High initial cost: The automation of a new product or plant requires a huge initial investment in comparison with the unit cost of the product.
Automation Human Interaction• Engineers now can have numerical control over automated devices.• Information technology, together with industrial machinery and processes, can assist in the design, implementation, and monitoring of control systems. One example of an industrial control system is a programmable logic controller (PLC). PLCs are specialized hardened computers which are frequently used to synchronize the flow of inputs from (physical) sensors and events with the flow of outputs to actuators and events.
Technology in various spheres Communication• Traditionally it was by sending letters and cards to the other person and waiting for weeks and months to get responses. Then phones came into existence. We can talk to only one person at a time• Now mobile messages, e-mails, video conferencing like skype, 3G facilities on mobiles have changed the face of the communication industry.
• Computing Usually people used to type letters on the typewriters and it was a time consuming process. If a mistake occurs, people used to write all letters again. It was burdensome. Now computers have made it all easy. Less manual efforts are required. Moreover PCs are no longer deskbound . Laptops are now capable of performing similar tasks and easy to carry. Multitasking is possible. Softwares like Ms word, Ms Excel Adobe Photoshop are helpful to a greater extent.
Travel• When we wanted to book a vacation in the past, wed have to see our travel agent to make the arrangements. In order to research our destination, we turned to travel books to educate us on where to stay and what to do.• Nowadays, who needs travel agents when there are Web sites like TripIt, which automatically organize all our travel plans—flights, hotels, cars, trains, cruises—and builds us a master itinerary of maps, restaurants, and more.• In ten years or so, travel agents will probably be out of a job.
Artificial Intelligence• Artificial Intelligence (AI) is usually defined as the science of making computers do things that require intelligence when done by humans.• Eg-Male and Female Robots working in hospitals.• Robots working in Car production, packaging, Automatic guided vehicles, in homes, etc.
Labor• Labor is an ability to work. Labor includes both physical and mental labor .• Labor is a primary or human factor of production. It indicates human resource.• Labor is a heterogeneous factor.• Labor have less mobility. “Labour is a Mean as well as an End”
Technology affecting Labor• An increase in the pace of technological change can have two profound side effects in the labor market.• It can increase the rate and the average duration of unemployment. Because firms may not consider it cost- effective to retrain some types of workers , notably the less- educated and older employees, these workers may be jobless for long periods of time, with some of them perhaps never working again.• If technological change causes workers to become unemployed more often and for longer periods of time, not only will the level of unemployment increase, but the "natural rate of unemployment," the hypothesized minimum sustainable rate of unemployment, will increase as well.
• Technology both eliminates jobs and creates jobs.• Generally it destroys lower wage, lower productivity jobs, while it creates jobs that are more productive, high-skill and better paid.• Virtually all types of technological change result in increases in the demand for labor in some labor markets and decreases in the demand for labor in other labor markets• The introduction of assembly line production methods and the production of interchangeable parts resulted in increase in the demand for unskilled workers and decrease for skilled artisans. But introduction of automated manufacturing processes, has resulted in a decrease in the demand for unskilled workers and an increase in the demand for quality control technicians and computer programmers.
• The story goes that Milton Friedman was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia. Thousands of workers using shovels were building a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why werent there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedmans response: "Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?"• That story came to mind last week when President Obama linked technology to job losses. "There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," he said. "You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you dont go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and youre using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."
How technology affects workers?• Lower Level, Low Skill workers: – replaced by technology – find it hard to survive in the workplace• These workers, such as factory workers, people in the service sector and others performing labor-intensive, low-skill tasks, are perhaps the most affected by the changing nature of work. The introduction of new technology has effectively eliminated their role in the workplace. As computers and machines are quickly replacing them in the workplace, these individuals are finding it harder and harder to maintain employment.• bank tellers are being replaced by ATM machines; gasoline station attendants are no longer as needed with the installation of new credit-card accepting pumps, secretaries are being replaced by computerized answering machines.
• Middle Management workers: – become expendable – must re-train to survive in the workplace• The middle management consists of those workers or managers involved in the coordination, processing and researching of information and activities. However, new computer technology such as databases, e-mail and the Internet has greatly reduced the need for or changed the responsibilities of these individuals, placing their job security at risk.• But individuals are usually higher-educated than lower level workers and thus find it much easier to re-train themselves--often learning themselves how to use the technology that replaced them--to survive in the new technological workplace.
• High Management workers: – have more decisions to make – have more work to do – benefit from greater profits• Unlike lower level and middle level workers, high management workers are not as adversely affected by the changing nature of work. The job security of high management workers is rarely placed at risk: the high management is in charge of deciding what technology will be used and how; it is unlikely that they will choose to use technology that will eliminate their own jobs.
• However, this does not mean that their jobs are not affected at all. With the changing nature of work, high management workers are faced with two new problems. Firstly, they now must make decisions in regards to either investing resources and money in new technology, thus firing workers, or favoring workers over new technology. Such decisions cannot be taken lightly; new technology can be very costly and not necessarily more effective.• Secondly, with the elimination of middle management and lower level workers because of new technology, high management workers are essentially given more work. Not only does the high management have more decisions to make, but also someone must run or supervise the new technology. In many instances, high management must compensate for the loss of middle and lower level workers by doing their jobs, with the help of the new technology. Although the new technology does make the work easier and quicker, it nevertheless increases the workload of these individuals.
High-Skill, Technical-Skilled Workers:• more opportunities in the workplace• greater demand for their skills• Finally, the computerization of the workplace has increased the demand for and opportunities of a distinct class of workers- the high-skilled, technical-skilled individuals. This group of workers include the people who create and maintain the new technologies being implemented in the work environment, those who develop, implement and repair the computer technology as well as those who act as consultants and give companies advice on how to maximize the benefits of newly acquired technology.
• These individuals perhaps enjoy the most benefit out of the changing nature of the workplace.• The increased use of technology in the work environment has increased their value, making them a highly regarded commodity in the workplace. Individuals who are computer literate and have significant technical skills are now in high demand.• Having technical abilities is a huge advantage in the job market; companies would rather hire an individual who can administrate and work with computers instead of hiring two people to do both tasks.• These workers receive higher pay and greater job stability.
RESULT The effects and consequences of the changing nature of work on individual workers can be summarized into three main points:1) A dichotomy between workers has been created With the introduction of new technology and the computerization of the workplace, low skill and middle management workers are finding themselves more and more expendable while high management workers and high-skilled workers are reaping the benefits. As the nature of work continues to change with the advent of new technology, this separation between the classes will continue to grow.
2) Work has become more technical-focused Technical skills and abilities are in high demand. In order for the individual to find and maintain employment, it is imperative that the individual be trained in the use of the computer and other new technology. Survival and success in the workplace is now determined by this education and knowledge.3) While the overall trend is marked by significant economic growth and prosperity, this progress has come at the expense of many individuals. Machines and computers have come to take the place of millions of laborers all over the world. The increasing automatization of the workplace has led to unemployment.