Will We Still Want Man-Made Goods?

There’s been a lot of discussion over whether or not machines will replace human workers in recent years. We’ve seen plenty of predictions, heard lots of estimates, and read a surplus of speculation. Some say with certainty that machines will replace or displace human workers, while others seem skeptical.

A matter of time

While the matter is far from settled, we’re getting more and more evidence that suggests people are becoming less and less important in manufacturing. Output for American manufacturing is pushing record highs while employment in manufacturing is at a record low.

The question isn’t if robots will replace workers in manufacturing, because that’s already happening. The question now is how soon, and to what extent, will robots replace people in factories and warehouses?

Let us assume

There are few tasks in manufacturing that wouldn’t benefit from automation. So, let’s assume – for the sake of speculation – that once we have adequate technology, the manufacturing process will be entirely automated. Should automation completely replace employees in manufacturing, will consumers still want man-made goods?

That is, will humans still need to manufacture goods once the need for humans to manufacture goods no longer exists?

A human touch

There’s already an increasing demand for man-made goods despite the fact that automation is more capable today than ever before. We’re seeing consumers willing to pay more for craft, small-batch, handmade, and artisan goods.

If we get to the point where all goods can be robot-made, will we still want goods goods made by people? Will we want man-made products even more?

Perhaps the increased convenience and availability of goods made through automation will give people more of an appreciation for handmade goods. Maybe the increasing rarity of objects made by human hands will increase the perceived value of these goods.  People who once might have worked in factories could spend their workdays carving, baking, knitting, or blowing glass, producing the scarce handmade goods favored by high-end customers.

Or could we grow to prefer the goods that are untouched by human hands, made with precision, fully automated?


Whether consumers will still want handmade goods or not, automation is the future of manufacturing. Make sure that you’re factory is ready. Call 479-422-0390 today for troubleshooting, repair or support for Indramat motion control systems.