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South Korea’s LG Electronics to introduce new robots at CES 2018


The three new concept robots from LG Electronics are aimed at the services industry, in areas like hotels, airports and supermarkets.

Source: LG Electronics

The three new concept robots from LG Electronics are aimed at the services industry, in areas like hotels, airports and supermarkets.

The first one is a server robot that can deliver food and drinks to customers at hotels and airport lounges. It can essentially replace the work done by the waitstaff and be able to do it around the clock.

Second is a porter robot that can handle check-in and check-out services at hotels and carry luggage to rooms. The hotel industry is already experimenting with replacing humans with machines. For example, there are hotels in Japan that are staffed by robots.

Finally, LG’s third new robot is made to work with customers at a supermarket, telling them the price of products and then guiding them through the aisles.

If popularized, such technologies would likely be bad news for many of those working in the services industry.

The International Labour Organization said as of May that nearly 50 percent of the global workforce is employed by the services sector. That includes trade, transportation, accommodation, food and other administrative and business services.

Meanwhile, a report released by McKinsey & Company last November suggested that by 2030, as many as 800 million workers globally could be replaced by robots. Even if automation adoption is slower, as many as 400 million people could still be affected, the report said.

This is not the first time that technological developments are displacing labor markets. In the manufacturing sector, for example, companies introduced conveyor belts and assembly lines at factories in the early 20th Century that brought down labor costs and temporarily put people out of work.

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