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BW Businessworld

India's Take On Robolution and Automation

Robotics and automation are the hot topics in today's world. We will see new changes in the future. Robots will replace the human being in some work. Then we need to think how we can meet this change by upskilling current assets, human capital and HR resources, says Ashish Anand, Director & Head of HR at Religare Finvest

Photo Credit : Tarun Gupta

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BW Businessworld organised its HR Conclave on Thursday (15 June) at Le Meridien, New Delhi.  The esteemed panelists talked on the topic 'Peeping into the future: Robots are eating up our jobs?'

The panel was moderated by Vaishali Dar, Senior Associate Editor and Editorial Head- BW Disrupt. The panelists who participated in the panel were Ashish Anand, Director & Head of HR at Religare Finvest ; Aman Atree, Head HR at Hindustan Power Projects; Santanu Ghoshal, Vice President, HR India at Schaeffler India; Neeraj Tandon, Director, Workforce, Analytics and Planning, Willis Towers Watson and Pradeep David, General Manager, Universal Robots.

The discussion started with the explanation of the lack of government impetus in pushing the automation and AI industry. The panelist cited examples of developed nations where robots are being exported from Chinese and India and Germany for various mundane work tasks, like bartending, assisting chefs and cleaning city drains.

The panel went ahead to share their own experiences and live observations of evolution in the job sector. According to several surveys, the forecast has in it that humongous job losses will happen due to increasing robotics and automation. What lies ahead and how to prepare ourselves for the rude reality?

Commenting on the same, Ashish Anand, Director & Head of HR at Religare Finvest said, "Robotics and automation are the hot topics in today's world. We will see new changes in the future. Robots will replace the human being in some work. Then we need to think how we can meet this change by upskilling current assets, human capital and HR resources."

Her second question was put forth to Aman Atree, Head HR at Hindustan Power Projects that should automation be looked at a scary lens, what is there for us to gain and lose? To which he responded with a positive outlook. He said, "We should stop looking at things in a binary fashion, things in automation are not 1 or 0 functions, it not black and white. If we remember what happened in the Japanese culture, who follow the simple philosophy of living, they too had panicked when the internet came and changed the world. They expected that the jobs around the world would end, but the truth is we have five times more opportunities and jobs today. So, in my view the world is not ending for human jobs, it's the start of another revolution."

Then Santanu Ghoshal, Vice President, HR India at Schaeffler India also added few points of relevance to the discussion. He said, "There are many jobs in factories that are left undone, as it is beyond human capacity such as to study what kind maintenance or repair is required by each machine. This role is called beet-cutting, it can save many accidents in the future in railways break system verticals."

Commenting on the jobs future due to Automation & Robotics, Neeraj Tandon, Director, Workforce, Analytics and Planning, Willis Towers Watson said, "According to a study by McKinsey, 65 per cent of school children studying in primary education right now, will join job sector soon after graduation but will be in such job roles which don't exist today. It will be a new world altogether. The future lies in smartest technologies. We should look at positively. Robots will create more & more jobs, human just need to upskill themselves." He added, "Cognitive Artificial intelligence is the next big thing. The Chinese at this moment are filing 30 per cent patent with the help of the government and a lot of innovation is being funded with government impetus. If this can happen in India, we will be saying Make in India is successful."

While talking about how robots and human will help each other, Pradip David, General Manager, Universal Robots said, "Robots assist human being, not replace them. 30-40 per cent jobs will be replaced by Robots but it doesn't mean they will replace human. People need more advanced skills in future so that they can assist robots and vice versa to improve work efficiency and productivity."

He further added, "There is a difference between Cobots and Robots. Cobots are collaborative robots which work with humans and assist them in everyday work such as warehousing, logistics, cleaning, housework etc."


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HR conclave Aman Atree Schaeffler India skill development