Dividends and Jobs threatened as COVID-19 speeds shift to AI, robotics

If you are in Los Angeles and want a roast beef sandwich to Arby’s drive-thru you would be talking to Tori, an artificially intelligent (AI) voice assistant that will take your order and send it to the line cooks. The franchise owner Amir Siddiqi says Tori is reliable, shows up everyday and it working well.

In an article by Matt O’Brien and Paul Wiseman of the Associated Press, COVID has given businesses many problems dealing with people and some of the solutions are linked to using AI and robotics.

The US used to have many jobs in manufacturing and some of them have gone offshore, however the service economy jobs offset the losses. In the manufacturing world there is a great deal of repetition which robots have shown to be able to handle, but the service business there is the perception that the human connection was important.

According to economist Johannes Moenius at the University of Redlands noted the improvements in robot technology allow machines to do many tasks that previously required people – tossing pizza dough, transporting hospital linens, inspecting gauges, sorting goods.

According to the World Economic Forum, 43% of companies planned to reduce their work forces as a result of new technology. Since the 2nd quarter of 2020, business investment in equipment has grown 26% more than twice as fast as the overall economy.

The fastest growth is expected in the roving machines that clean the floors of supermarkets, hospitals and warehouses according to the International Federation of Robotics, a trade group. The same group expects an uptick in sales of robots that provide shoppers with information or deliver room service orders in hotels.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, AI and robotics will play an increasing role in the workplace, how is your company handling it. In theory there are transitions to reduce middle management and training for people to manage the robots. What else is your company doing or working on?

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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