Machines vs. Human Workers



In the recent past, technology has evolved to such an extent that human labour has either been replaced either partially or completely by machines. People, companies and organizations have turned to research on machines as a possible replacement of human labour by. There have been postulations that machines make work easier. Work which was supposed to be done by several people can be done by only one person who is operating a machine. For example, a company has employed twenty people to be carrying some bags from point A to point B. If this company gets a machine with a conveyer belt to run from point A to B, the company will only need one person to operate the machine and the same work which was supposed to be done by twenty people will be done by one person. This fact has made most of the organizations to embrace technology and employ more machine labour than human labour with a view of cutting down the cost of production and at the same time increase the efficiency of work done. This paper examines the effects of machines on human labour and how they interact. (Oscar, 2010).

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The need to make production similar in all aspects of the organization was a major problem facing most of the producers. Producers wanted to produce goods and services which were similar with one another. However, human labour was very different. People have different characteristics and behave differently in the same situation. This is also reflected at the work place. Two different people given the same work will not produce exactly similar results. This became an issue and the first solution was the development of protocols which would guide human beings in labour. These protocols would serve as guidelines to the workers in an attempt to produce similar results. However, the strategy did not yield very good results as expected. There was an increase in the administrative labour needs of organizations. In addition, there were a lot of conflicts between the laborers. The white color laborers and blue color were always in conflict. In addition, the companies could not produce the same goods. Research showed that the only way to produce similar products was by the use of a machine which led to the advent of machines. Although the first machines were not as advanced as the current ones, the machines replaced human labour partially. With time, a machine could do the work of very many people and thus reducing the need for human labour (Clay, 2010).

Loss of Employment

As mentioned above, machines have significantly reduced the need for human labour. Machines make work easier. With the advent of machines, an individual using a machine can perform work which would have needed several people to carry out. A machine will only need one person to operate it and then carry out duties which needed many people. An example is the transport industry. Initially, horses used to be the main means of transport. Each horse would need one individual to transport a person. However, the horses have been replaced by vehicles, planes and trains. These machines have completely replaced the need for horses and their operators. For one horse, one operator was needed and only one person could be transported. Currently, a train can carry one thousand people and with only one operator. In the normal case, transportation of one thousand people would have needed one thousand operators of the horses. However, the train has replaced the rest of nine hundred and ninety nine operators rendering them jobless.

Machines carry out their functions with a lot of efficiency. Machines are continuously improved to work faster and become more efficient. Machines carry out the functions of human beings at relatively higher speed as compared to human beings. In the transportation of goods from one place to another, a machine can move at a speed which is one thousand times more than the human being or even more. The implication of this is that work which would have needed one thousand days of human labour will only need one day of machine labour. As a result, the machine will replace one thousand days of human labour with one day of human labour. An individual would have worked for a thousand days without the machine. This is thus reduced to just one day. If only two thousands day equivalent of human labour was available, the person will only work for two days only making him or her jobless for the rest of the remaining days (Penslar, 1995).

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The combination of the fact that a machine can carry out work of several individuals at the same time and do work faster than humans makes it displace human beings effectively. A machine will perform a certain duty faster than human beings and at the same time perform duties of several human beings at the same time. Most organizations will opt to use machines which will reduce the cost of operation by reducing the number of people needed for the job. Machines are therefore being a favorite for most of manufacturers. They will buy and install as many machines as possible so as to minimize human labour as much as possible. The end result will be a situation where very few people are needed for the running of an organization while the rest of the people are replaced by machines.

Advancement of Capitalism

Machines reduce the need of the company management of employing human workers. The organization will only need to buy a machine and then the organization will not pay human beings salaries and wages. The money which was supposed to be paid as wages and salaries is maintained by the organization as profit. Thus, the machines will divert the money which was supposed to be given to several people to the pocket of one individual. The owner of the organization will continue increasing his profit while the rest of the people who would have served as employees to the organization continue getting poorer as they do not have an income. The income for more than a thousand people will end up going to one person. This means that the people who have the capital to buy machines are more likely become rich while those without capital will become poor.

Companies will invest more in buying technology. The organizations will buy software which is for replacement of the administrative duties of the human beings. Software will be designed such that it can perform most of the administrative duties in the organization. This makes the software very expensive and thus making the organizations which make such software benefit much from them. The result will be a boom in the software manufacturing industries. Thus, organizations and institutions which train people on the skills of performing certain job will become obsolete. An organization, for example, training people on the way to ride a horse for transport will become useless as no one will need such people. The machines are thus replacing the need to acquire certain skills. The training institutions for such skills will therefore not be needed and the people employed in those institutions become jobless.

Replacement of Human Beings with Robots

Part of the functions of human beings has been replaced by machines and robots. In some cases, the functions of human beings have been replaced completely. For example, in the transit of goods in production from one section to another has been replaced completely by the robots. These robots are able to move the goods at very high speed from one region to another without any delays. The machine will work without fatigue and thus can work for even twenty four hours per day. Some of the robots will need the input of human beings as a controller while others will not need such a controller. Depending on whether the robot needs human control or not, there can be complete replacement or partial replacement. Robots which need some human control are better because they do no replace completely the human labour. However, some machines and robots will replace humans completely since they need no human input in their running. They are just programmed and thus run without needing any input from human being.

There however some instances in which human labour are very essential. An example is the medical field. Although there have been a lot of advances in medicine, it has become almost impossible to replace human labour with robots (Peterson, 2010). In the diagnosis, robot cannot accurately make a diagnosis. Even with advancement in technology in the medical field, there is no machine which is intelligent enough to carry out the functions of the doctor. Thus, although the machines are taking over most of human functions, there are some of the functions which the machine cannot perform (Williamson, 2000).

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Human beings have an advantage than robot in that they are intelligent. Human beings are able to think and adjust according to the situation. For example, during an operation, a human being is able to feel the force of pulling a suturing thread and estimate the need for applying more or less energy. However, a robot can easily cause damage because it does not have the feedback mechanism which human being has making it not appropriate for the performance of the specific functions which need a lot of intelligence. Human beings can look at a situation and think on the best way forward (Sheila, 2006). However, a robot or a machine will perform a certain duty in the same manner in all the cases making it not very appropriate for tasks which need thinking (Stevenson, 2010).

Advantages of Machines over Human Beings

Machines have very many advantages as compared to humans. First, machines perform work faster than human beings. Machines have a very high efficiency and they perform certain tasks at a faster rate than humans (Penslar, 1995). As outlined above, a machine can perform work which human being can take a thousand days in one day. This makes it efficient for the performance of most of duties especially where the time is a limiting factor. An organization will employ machines which will enable it produce a lot of goods or services within a short duration of time. With a machine, an organization will be able to beat all the deadlines and ensure that there are no delays to their customers.

Machines have an advantage that they do not get exhausted. As opposed to human labour, most of machines can work for a full day without getting fatigued. This makes them be able to perform tasks which need to be performed throughout. For example, a lift can work for twenty four hours without getting exhausted. This makes it appropriate for use in the buildings. If it were a human being he or she would not be able to withstand the work and would eventually lose control. A machine is also not governed by the laws of labour concerning its working hours as opposed to the human beings who will only work for eight hours per day and any hour above that will be paid as overtime. Machines will not have overtime.

Machines are not paid. Although their acquisition is very expensive, they do not need to be paid a salary or a wage. They do not need allowances like human beings. This makes them very cost effective. The money which the organization would have used as salaries forms part of the profit. The organization reduces its cost of production by a high percentage as the machines will replace the need of human labour and thus making it cheap for the organization to operate. The only expenses for the machines are its acquirement and its maintenance which is far much less than what would be the cost of paying employees if they were the ones working.

Machines are able to products which are similar. A machine will operate in the same way and will not vary with time. Where it has been adjusted, it produces the goods with that standard. This is very important especially in mass productions where the organization needs to produce a lot of goods which are similar with one another. It makes it easier to test the quality of the goods since just a sample is needed and it acts as a representative of the rest of the products. The sample is a true representation since the machine produced goods which were all the same. For example, in the packaging of oil in the oil cans by ExxonMobil, all the cans contain the same volume and quality of oil as long as the settings were not altered. Thus when someone wants to tests the quality of goods being produced, he or she will just need to test one product.

Machines are not vulnerable to corruption. Corruption is gaining root in most of the places especially in the third world countries. To reduce this corruption, machines are employed. A machine will apply one standard to all situations regardless of whatever situation presents. This is as opposed to human beings where a brother or a friend may receive favors of the person in charge. For example, in the automated betting systems, the machine is able to decide without bias who has won which is opposed to a situation where a human being is in control and therefore will be biased (Thompson, 2003).

Disadvantages of Machines over Human Beings

Machines are at times not able to completely replace human beings. Machines are not able to think and conform to the situation at hand (Zainab, 2010). A machine will not be able to adjust according to the situation so as to make it possible for it to do the best at that time. A machine cannot notice that there needs to be a change in the actions since the environment demands a different way of operation. Human beings can adjust to the situation and change accordingly. A machine will only operate on commands and without the commands, the machines will not operate. What the machine or the robot has been commanded will form its actions until a different command is given (Ridley, 1998).

Machines have reduced the need for human labour. Human labour has lost mean because of its cost and its effectiveness. Organizations sack people and their duties taken over by machines. Employees will lose their way of life and make them baggers. Most people will become jobless as the machines take over all the functions of humans. With very efficient and effective machines being produced, they can completely replace all the functions of human beings in an organization. An organization will depend almost completely on the machine for the labour.


Technology has gone to a very high level in the recent years. Technology has concentrated on making work easier and reduces the need for employing many people. This has led to the decrease in the importance of human labour. People have been losing jobs and their duties played by the machines. The machines have the advantage that they are faster and more effective. They enable an organization to meet its deadlines and thus avoid a situation where the organization is not able to carry its duties in time. On the other hand, machines lead to loss of jobs for people and thus making them not have an income.