Robot replacing Humans, Déjà vu

We've been here before
Native American arrowhead MostlyDross
Native American arrowhead

The rise of robotics and AI is often described as a risk to labour. But is it really?

The manufacturing of products other humans want to buy has always evolved: From the first sharpened stones used as arrowheads to the industrial age, technology has always replaced aspects of human labour.

From the perspective of the person being asked to adapt this is scary, no denying that.

Let's do some research to find out more. A dive into the statistics of the Netherlands brings up this shocking graph:

Graph of construction jobs in the Netherlands, 1995-2020 Source: CBS
Construction jobs in the Netherlands, 1995-2020, per 1000.

As the statistics above show there is very little change in the amount of jobs available in construction over a 35 year period of mechanisation, automation and application of AI. The only thing that made any impact was the global financial crisis.

CBS further tells us that the development of the workload per person is nearly identical to above graph and the wages have, on average, increased by about twice the inflation year-over-year.

To put this in words: The nature of construction jobs may have changed, the rewards and amount available haven't. What did change is that construction workers now have longer careers and retire in better health than 35 years ago, as much of the heavy lifting is now done by machines.

Robot arm