How The Rise Of Robots Outside Nigeria Will Impact Life In Nigeria

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The main reason I don't talk/blog about our political issues is that I don't see them as the toughest problem we have. Sure, they are the biggest and deadliest. But, fortunately, they don't require robot science to solve. Even the guys brewing the issues are aware of the right things; they chose the wrong path simply to fill their pockets. Hopefully soon, the voice of reason will prevail and our politics will be done right and we will have true leaders (not looters). Then we will begin to face our tougher issues. And today I'm going to talk about one of those issues: our economic place in the world.

The rise of robots outside Nigeria and it's impact on us.

There are close to 2 million industrial robots in the world. And what do they do, you ask. Most are in the car industry making the cars we buy. The next largest group are in the precision technology industry making those expensive Swiss watches, the components of your smartphone and medical tools. The rest are scattered all around the other industries from farming to transportation to finance to space/underwater exploration. A leading tech company is working on replacing 1 million workers with 1 million robots; they are close to achieving that goal, having currently acquired hundreds of thousands of robots. The company's name is Foxconn.

And how are they going to affect us in Nigeria?

Let's start with the more obvious cases. Remember the early days of Omatek and Zinox? Heard of Innoson? Omatek and Zinox are in the computer manufacturing business. And Innoson is in the automobile manufacturing business. The rise of robots is going to make business very tough for them. HP, Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba, Samsung and Dell, with the help of robots that are beyond the financial reach of Omatek and Zinox, will continue to make high quality laptops at cheaper prices than equivalents from these Nigerian companies. Great Wall Motors in China has robots assembling its vehicles. BMW, Volkswagen, Ford, GM and Honda also have some robots working in their car plants. Only Toyota is trying to keep humans assembling its cars but the technology it has is light years ahead of what Innoson has. It's going to take a miracle for Innoson to export its vehicles profitably. Think about the jobs their (Omatek, Zinox and Innoson) success would have created. And the numerous similar companies their success would have inspired into creation, which would lead to an almost endless loop of job creation. So you see how the robots are already affecting us in Nigeria.

Then let's take the less obvious cases. Google is spearheading the rise of driverless cars. Its driverless cars have gotten critical certifications and already logged over 500,000 miles without a single incident/accident. Other car companies are following suite. In a few years, the craze won't be for Ferrari, Maserati and Bentley. It would be for driverless cars. Well, maybe not in Nigeria. In the US, UK and every developed country Nigerians like migrating to for better paying menial jobs like driving, there will be no need for drivers. Low skilled Nigerians will become jobless home and abroad. There will be gadgets and robots to take care of the elderly more reliably and cheaply. Another foreign job pipeline sealed forever. Robots and software will take over the jobs of cashiers, office assistants, accountants, some lawyers, and lots of engineers. Only doctors will be spared. So getting a job abroad will become extremely difficult. Then the Nigerians among those whose jobs the robots have snatched will eventually move back home and increase the pool of unemployed at home. More competition for us, home-based. 

Finally, businesses will begin to outsource a lot of their operations to software and robot powered companies outside Nigeria. GTBank will replace cashiers with ATM machines that can handle cash deposits. Nestle will be forced to start using industrial robots to stay competitive. Dangote cement will have more robots than factory workers. Jumia and Konga will have to follow Amazon's footstep of automating (without human involvement) all the steps from customer order placement to product delivery, or risk death. And more foreign products will kill our local products.

Now you see how the rise of robots outside Nigeria is going to impact live within Nigeria.


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