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There’s something in science fiction and pop culture that fears robots. And now a survey confirms many are afraid of robots that make automated, modern factories possible.

According to a recently survey covered in the Wall Street Journal, nearly two-thirds of respondents said advanced technology and automation either made no difference or actually hurt the economy. The percentage who thought it was bad — 37% — rose in lower income and lower educated households. The full article can be found here

The data comes from the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition survey and was funded by Rockwell Automation Inc. John Bernaden, a Rockwell spokesman and vice-chairman of the coalition, was shocked at how negative the results turned out to be.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the positive impact of technology on today’s factories.

Every day, advances in manufacturing technologies make factories smarter, safer and more environmentally sustainable. Businesses investing in transforming into smart manufacturing will dramatically increase their sales, which has become a global race.

And what many people fear — job losses to automation — actually has the opposite effect. As factories modernize, there will be an increasing demand to support  the indirect jobs of manufacturing. Today, about 12 million Americans work directly in manufacturing. But studies show that as factories get smarter, the employment multipliers will increase up to four or more times greater than the jobs in manufacturing.

In other words, there will be more new jobs supported by manufacturing than there are inside factories. Construction of the next generation of smart factories can accelerate this trend and create entire new communities of good, sustainable jobs that are necessary to support manufacturing.

When you think about it that way, robots aren’t so bad after all.

Flickr photo by JL Watkins