Interesting feature in the Independent – interview with former CEO of McDonalds in which he explains the attraction of replacing staff with robots.
The feature highlights the demands for higher pay for McDonalds staff in the USA. As we know, what starts off in the USA seems to find its way to the UK. Clearly, it makes sense for the management to consider ways of ensuring the highest return of profits for themselves and their shareholders.
However, there is no attention paid to the potential higher costs of this. Employment is key for people moving out of deprivation. By earning – even a low wage – they can start to take control back of their lives. They may save some of their money for education to get a better job or work their way up in their existing employment. They become positive role models for family and friends. Communities start to regenerate. There’s a positive domino affect.
The proven stats of unemployment are available. Without a regular job and wage, families, communities and individuals ‘breakdown’. For those trying to move away from deprivation, social or mental health issues, employment is crucial. Yes staff may be problematic. But treated right, supported, trained and developed they will become a huge asset to a business. A robot on the other hand will only be able to deliver the set task it’s been programmed to do. It will not add additional value.
Businesses and indeed humanity need to decide if they want integrity or more money. The costs of making/keeping people in deprived positions are huge to all taxpayers. As business and shareholders are also taxpayers, maybe they should consider what really costs more.
Robots are essential in the right area – space, science, medicine – operations, prosphetics, paraylsis – where they enhance our lives, not crush them and take them over.