The Rise Of Robots – Are Millions of Textile Jobs At Risk?
With AI becoming more and more advanced in the world with each passing day, the worlds of science fiction become closer and closer to our reality. With it, for many people, comes the fear that robots will eventually take several human jobs, or at the very least be just as present within the workforce. The robots are already coming for unskilled labor industries, and that can include the textile jobs industry.
But before everyone starts freaking out, we need to take a step back and see exactly how much danger the textile industry, and the people who work within it, are really in. How will the rise of automation affect the textile industry, and what kind of jobs will be taken by the machines? Here’s what you need to know.
How The Textile Industry Has Become A Way Of Life
For many people who have worked in the textile industry, it has become something that they have not only become very good at, but it has also become something that has been a lifesaver. In many developing countries, the textile industry (whether it was producing textiles domestically or outsourcing them to foreign nations) provided a massive boon to the economies of these nations.
Nations such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and more soon found that they had a job with steady wages to support themselves and their families. The prosperity spread to the countries’ economies as well, allowing them to take advantage of cheap home loans and more.
The textile industry is a hard job, because even the most basic steps take a long time to get right. Plus, when you are making clothes and sowing commercially, you are often repeating the same process over and over and over again, and one mistake can slow you down. This means that many textile workers are extremely experienced and have learned their craft with blood, sweat, and hard work.
It’s become a massive way of life for them, but when faced with machines that don’t need to rest, and have all the mistakes they make patched out once they are made, it puts their jobs at risk. In fact, many companies are boasting that their machines can produce more textiles in one 8 hour shift than a human factory can do in 24 hours, which is getting the attention of owners and investors.
What Robots Can Do And What They Can’t
Most of the textile industry is already pretty automated, from picking the cotton, to making the thread, to weaving and printing. That can be done by robots or at the very least is made much easier by machines. Now, the one thing that many robots can’t do is sew the fabric into clothes, and this is for a few different reasons.
For starters, clothes are floppy, bend, crease, and can be hard for even humans to maneuver. For a robot that lacks the dexterity to not only get a piece of clothing under control, but also to manage it, it can be very difficult. Even picking up a piece of fabric in the wrong way can confuse a robot and slow the entire process down.
Additionally, sewing even with the aid of a sewing machine can be extremely hard because the fabric has to constantly be adjusted while the sewing is being done. Even for the easiest stitches and movements, it requires a lot of finger dexterity and skill that the best seamstresses and garment factory workers have been developing over countless hours of learning and practice.
But machines are getting better, faster, and the technology and materials behind them are only getting much more advanced. This, plus an aging population of seamstresses and workers who have depended on the textile industry for much of their lives (if not all of it) is leading to worry for many who depend on the textile industry for jobs and for their livelihood.
There Is Still Hope
What many pioneers of this technology are saying is that the use of technology in the textile workplace is going to be for basic and repetitive tasks. However, many of the experienced sewers and garment workers will be needed to still complete the more specific and advanced pieces of clothing that the robots can’t do… at least not yet.
It is very important to understand that while millions of jobs are at risk in the textile industry due to machines, their is still plenty that these machines can’t do yet, so there is still time for many workers to advance their careers and come up with a real plan for when the automation does change up the industry as a whole.
As long as you keep a cool head and consider all the facts, you won’t be beaten by the machine.