I’m Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective. Today’s program looks at Wal-Mart and robots. Mike, recently the nation’s largest private employer, Wal-Mart, announced it would be adding sophisticated machines – in other words, robot, to as many as 1500 stores nationwide. What will this mean for employees in those stores? Is this just the beginning of – what many think will be – the ultimate replacement of workers by machines?
Mike: Summary Answer
- According to Wal-Mart, the answer is no
- Said they are using robots to do many menial tasks their workers don’t like, such as scanning shelves and cleaning floors
- Company said they will move workers to other tasks, like fulfilling on-line orders
- This is a pattern many experts think will occur
- Machinery will be used to do the dull tasks – tasks that may cost them in employees leaving
- Then use workers for emerging tasks
- We’ll see if this happens
- I’m MW
Mary: And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.