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One quarter of Japan's population is over 65 years old, with a projected 40% increase in the elderly population over the next 40 years. Japan is experimenting with incorporating robots to the workforce, specifically to the construction industry. 30% of all construction workers were 50 years old or older in 2015. Those 29 or younger only accounted for 10%. We see a lack of youth excited to enter trade school here in America as well. Most high school graduates are enrolling in college while skilled labor gaps remain; 75% of American construction workers are having difficulty filling open positions with capable employees.

Some companies have already included robots to their work force, like the Aloft Hotel in California with their bellhop "Botlr." The issue is with construction-specific robots. For these to be pragmatic, they have to be able to maneuver around a warehouse or a construction site. Japanese general contracting firm Shimizu has just developed 3 new robots they hope will reduce the need for more construction workers in the future. One is a welder with the ability to weld channels on a steel column, the other a carrier that has the ability to both recognize and avoid obstacles, and the last an all-purpose robot that has 2 arms with freedom of movement along 6 axes. These robots were tested on their own Safe Site in Tokyo and are projected to reduce up to 1/3 the number of workers required for certain tasks. The robots must still operate at night and on the weekends for safety reasons, but they are on the way to join the workforce. 

(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

In 2013, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of The University of Oxford predicted that 47% of U.S. jobs could be automated by 2033. Robots aren't only becoming more common place in the workforce, but also in our everyday lives. Going from broom to Roomba some may argue is a lazy and expensive move, until you consider the time you would have spent sweeping can now be spent with your family. Hopefully, these robots can help replace not only unwanted jobs, but also ones that are left unfilled.