The COVID-19 pandemic has had overwhelming impacts on our economy, not to mention the impact on lives and personal wellness. The critical lack of medical equipment to treat and protect those affected highlights the over-reliance of United States manufacturing sector on overseas production. The offshoring issue extends beyond current pandemic concerns, however, reaching far larger and more permanent concerns over industrial supply chains, worker training and even national security.
MIT President Rafael Reif convened the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future in the spring of 2018. Its goals are to understand the relationships between emerging technologies and work, and to explore strategies to enable a future of shared prosperity. This report will not provide definitive answers, but instead aims to enable decision-makers to ask the right questions.
This paper examines the nature and prospects of robotics and associated production technologies, reviews the literature on their impact on spatial dynamics, reviews recent data on robotic adoption, including controlling for robot adoption rates by domestic worker compensation rates, and speculates on future trends in the spatial distribution of manufacturing.