Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest, recently predicted that Amazon could potentially have more robots than humans by 2030. Wood is a portfolio manager, and her decision making is based off of companies she believes could generate disruptive innovation. In an interview with CNBC, Wood declared that Amazon is actively increasing the use of automation in their operations, estimating that each day they incorporate 1,000 robots into their system. This is compared to the total number of employees which stands at around a third.
Wood also mentioned that other firms are likely to adopt similar practices due to the cost-effectiveness attached with automation. She pointed out that every time there’s a cumulative doubling in the number of robots produced by any company, there’s a price reduction ranging from 50% to 60%. Despite this prediction, Ark Invest’s ETF remains 70% lower than its peak two years ago and Wood has been the target of criticism over this course of time.
In 2021, Amazon had approximately 1.6 million employees and due to a high employee turnover rate in warehouses and fulfillment centers across America. It was predicted that they wouldn’t be able to find enough people to hire by 2022 – leading them to increase pay rates to compensate for the crisis. Other companies with unskilled labor have followed suit by incorporating automation as a way of dealing with worker shortages. McDonald’s recently set up an experimental restaurant in Texas where customers place orders using kiosks and mobile app with no human interaction whatsoever.
Looking ahead towards 2030, it appears that automation will remain at the forefront as workers struggle more and more with shortages while businesses look for alternatives. With advancements such as Artificial Intelligence allowing machines to understand customer behavior more accurately than ever before coupled with cost benefits such as 50-60% reductions in prices every time production doubles, it looks like automation will become increasingly prevalent within many industries over the next decade or so while still managing costs efficiently.