A new study has found that manufacturing automation in the US is contributing to higher deaths among working-age adults in America.
When robots replace people in factories, people die, according to a new study by researchers at Yale and Pennsylvania Universities. Scientists have found evidence of a causal relationship between automation and an increase in deaths “out of desperation.” We are talking about suicide and drug overdose.
According to the study, women and men between the ages of 45 and 54 are most affected. But the experts also found evidence of increased mortality across age and sex groups from cancer and heart disease.
“For decades, US manufacturers have been implementing automation to remain competitive in the global marketplace. But this technological innovation has reduced the number of quality jobs available to adults without college degrees. It is in this group of people that deaths have risen in recent years,” explains lead author Rourke O’Brien, assistant professor of sociology at Yale University’s School of Arts and Sciences, in a press release. “Our analysis showed that automation harms people’s health both directly – by reducing employment, wages and access to health care, and indirectly by reducing the economic viability of the population.”
The researchers concluded that government policies, including strong safety net programs, higher minimum wages, and limiting the supply of prescription opioids, could mitigate the public health impact of automation in the US.