116 . Exploratory Workshop on the Social Impacts of Robotics
the expertise of the technical personnel;
the structure and operation of the production system;
the economically feasible range of changes in product designs and product- mix;
and the very criteria used to evaluate the capabilities of new capital goods; as well as
the skills and organization of labor.
Each of these represents powerful and mutually reinforcing commitments to pre-
existing operating and and localized changes.
organizational arrangements, except for Hence major advances are not likely to
small, be achieved
unless they are pushed aggressively by senior managers committed to achieve them and willing to invest the resources and to introduce the organizational means necessary to implement such programs.
Other Incentives and Deterrents
One of the most important stimuli to the increasing diffusion of robots has been the gradually growing awareness among managements, engineers and labor that these have proven themselves practical and economical in an expanding array of applications, and hence are becoming an increasingly unavoidable option among the alternatives to be considered whenever plans to improve productive efficiency are
has forced production managers and engineers capabilities, limitations and costs, thereby
And such inquiries from prospective ment efforts of robot manufacturers
customers obviously help to focus the develop- on meeting newly emerging market opportunities.
On the other hand,
one of the influential deterrents to more rapid adoptions
of robots of robots ments was
has been managerial concern about labor reactions.
to replace operators readily accepted, of
in dangerous or course, as, was
especially uncomfortable environ- their use in unduly exhausting jobs.
The use of robots accepted by labor
h i g h l y r o u t i n i z e d ( “ b o r i n g ” ) j o b s
also been commonly given other assignments.
But there seems to be widespread concern among managers that robot installations which threaten substantial employment reductions in existing plants may well en- gender serious labor problems, whose resolution would be likely to reduce expected
installations establish new
are accordingly likely to be manning levels in accordance