Seeing how a spacecraft dies

This simulation of ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) space truck reentering Earth's atmosphere starts by representing the surrounding of the spacecraft as a three-dimensional cloud of interconnected points, a so-called ...

Economists weigh a new approach to unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance is a lifeline for many people when work goes away. And when times get really bad in the U.S.—in recessions and during the COVID-19 pandemic—Congress has extended the duration of unemployment benefits ...

Slowing down automation may have economic benefits

Robots, artificial intelligence, and other automation technologies enable companies to produce more. They also displace workers from their jobs, wreaking havoc on those who have no other training and are financially vulnerable.

Robots are increasing mortality among US adults

The automation of U.S. manufacturing—robots replacing people on factory floors—is fueling rising mortality rate among America's working-age adults, according to a new study by researchers at Yale and the University of ...

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Automation

Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization. Whereas mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work, automation greatly decreases the need for human sensory and mental requirements as well. Automation plays an increasingly important role in the world economy and in daily experience.

Automation has had a notable impact in a wide range of industries beyond manufacturing (where it began). Once-ubiquitous telephone operators have been replaced largely by automated telephone switchboards and answering machines. Medical processes such as primary screening in electrocardiography or radiography and laboratory analysis of human genes, sera, cells, and tissues are carried out at much greater speed and accuracy by automated systems. Automated teller machines have reduced the need for bank visits to obtain cash and carry out transactions. In general, automation has been responsible for the shift in the world economy from industrial jobs to service jobs in the 20th and 21st centuries.

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