MEPI, an organization that focuses on infrastructure and construction in the Midwest, reports that their forecasts say that 2.7 million jobs currently done by laborers will be done by autonomous robots by the year 2057. As an example, they point to brick laying robots, which can lay thousands of bricks in a day, compared to human bricklayers, who average about 500.
“Advancements in technology have already dramatically re-shaped American manufacturing and eliminated millions of blue-collar, middle-class jobs,” said study co-author Robert Bruno. “Similar changes are already underway in the construction sector, and it is vital for policymakers to begin thinking about ways to embrace progress without leaving middle-class workers behind.”
Just as robots revolutionized the auto industry by taking places on the factory production line, the switch to pre-fab and modular construction is just another step toward having autonomous robots constructing large sections of structures in a warehouse of factory, and then shipping them to jobsites where human workers will install and position them.
This robotic equipment has allowed one manufacturer, Z Modular, to construct 80% of their home building in a factory, with the other 20% taking place at the jobsite.
Of course, this is all conjecture. Shooting for a target of 2057 is so far in the distance that it’s very difficult to forecast (compare this to science fiction entertainment, where Blade Runner was supposed to take place in 2019, Terminator in 1997, and, of course, the dystopian 1984 taking place in the titular 1984.) It’s very hard to look far into the future with any amount of accuracy, but one thing is clear: the future belongs to technology, and we must all be ready for it.