For some two decades, information society researcher Risto Linturi has had the opportunity to monitor technological developments from a front-row seat. In his recent survey, he analyses robotisation, a phenomenon with unexpectedly surprising impacts.
Robots have arguably been feared and expected more than any other issue related to the future.
“People often fear that robots will steal our jobs,” Risto Linturi states.
However, according to the analysis Linturi made with Ossi Kuittinen for the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, this is not the case. According to Linturi, robotisation differs from traditional automation, in which simple work phases are performed as large-scale series.
Robotisation is based on the principle of producing small series for individual needs using a highly developed robot. Search engine marketing and social media support this development.
“Instead of producing millions of copies of a certain product in a highly automated factory and then shipping them to hypermarkets in containers, a small, robotised production line can create a localised group of different products to be distributed in the nearby areas,” Linturi explains.
It thus seems that robotisation will increase the significance of local production. Linturi is particularly happy with the fact that productivity and well-being at work are increasing hand in hand.
In addition, robotisation promotes entrepreneurship, as it decreases the amount of capital needed to become a producer. Digital software and extensive digital know-how are prerequisites for production.
“This could be developed as commercial services, but also through crowdsourcing,” Linturi says.
In the long run, robotisation may shake the foundations of the current economy.
“Diversity in products and services reduces the influence of the market economy, thus increasing the importance of the network economy, which is based on social capital. This will show in, for instance, advertiser-funded or inexpensive services, as well as an increase in communality,” Linturi continues.
Text: Johanna Hytönen