Preparing for the Rise of the Robots

Q&A with Maja Korica, Associate Professor of Organisation and Management at Warwick Business School

Maja Korica is an Associate Professor of Organisation and Management at Warwick Business School and a 2017 Thinkers50 Radar Thinker. She specializes in corporate governance, accountability and responsibility, as well as executive management and leadership in practice. We spoke with Maja about the impact of technology on corporations and the way we work, and the implications for society more broadly.

T50: Why do you think automation will be a particularly important issue for 2018? Automation has been here for a while. Is this something new -are we approaching critical mass? 

A number of industries have been automated for years, and that automation continues at pace. What is perhaps most concerning is the speed at which the biggest players are introducing these changes. If you take a company like Amazon, for instance, in 2017 it introduced over 50,000 new robots, a 100% increase from the previous year. Estimates suggest some 20% of its workforce may already be made up of robots.

This shift is highly visible, and of course highly effective. After all, robots can work 24/7, 365 days a year, they do not have unions, they do not complain, there are less costs associated in terms of providing an acceptable working environment, they come with great efficiencies. As such, they present a powerful incentive for other firms to do the same.

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