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Tee Sook Sing

PBSA1123| ATMI | May 30, 2018

1. Introduction

The word ‘robot’ was first introduced in 1921, robots are machines that can
navigate through and interact with the physical world of factories, warehouses, battlefields
and offices (Brynjolfsson and McAfee, 2014). The term “robots” broadly refer to any type
of machinery, from computers to artificial intelligence (AI) systems, which replace human
works. Robots could be bear no resemblance to humans, to robot vacuum cleaners and
Google cars, to social robots designed to look and act as if they are human (Freeman, 2015).
Today, the technologies are so advanced that automation including robotics, AI and
machine learning, has the potential to change the daily activities of everyone from farmer
and production workers, to bankers and CEOs. The robots and computer, not only able to
perform a range of routine physical activities, but also increasing capable to perform
activities with cognitive capabilities, better and cheaper than human.

Now, the world from Europe, America to Asia countries are emerging to Industry
Revolution 4.0. Industrial 4.0 is the next industrial revolution following the digital
revolution of information technologies and computers in production. One of the nine
technological pillars in Industry 4.0 is autonomous robot. Robots are described to have
potential to augment the worker in more complex task or fully replace the worker and his

Robots are commonly used in manufacturing, regardless is chemical, electronics or

pharmaceutical manufacturing. With recent development in robotics, technologies not only
can do the things that humans could do, but also increasingly supersedes human in the level
of performance. Some robots are fairly flexible and the cost is to implement is getting lower.
The robots are also starting to take over some service activities, from cooking, child or
elderly care to hospitality attendants.

Automation especially robots will cause significant labor displacement and could
exaggerate the employment gap that already exists between high-skill and low-skill
workers. The implementation of robots in manufacturing and service industry have
automate many occupations, fully automated or partially automated, also have different
impacts on the workers. Many low-skill workers are eliminated from their jobs. Now, with
advancing cognitive technologies, the mid-skill workers' jobs are increasingly automated
as well.

However, many researches or studies have showed automation or robots are not
true culprit for large scale jobs lost. The large-scale historical structural shifts in the
workplace where technology has caused job losses, over time, been accompanied by the
creation of a multitude of new jobs, activities, and types of work. In the past, new industries
created from automation hired far more people than those they eliminated. The new trend
in the robotics industry is collaborative robot (COBOT), where the robots can work along
side with human operator. The current technologies still required human to work along
with the machines to achieve max economies of scale. Researchers also commented that

the employments are mainly due to unstable and weak macroeconomics conditions rather
than automation of jobs.

This paper aimed to document the robots and its effects on work and workers
relation with their jobs and organizations. There are thousands of research papers and
journals regarding the robots and the effects on work and workers, published as early as
year 1990. This paper attempted to give a comprehensive review of literature on robots and
its effects on work and workers relation with their jobs and organizations. For this purpose,
a reference database has been created according to classification scheme including 88
previous papers which published in many international journals since 2009 to 2018 from
two popular database Web of Science and Scopus.

Moreover, the previous papers are classified based on authors and years on
publications, effects on different industries, effects on workers or work, type of study,
nationality of the authors, application area and scope, study purpose and name of journal.

The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 explained the chronology of robots

and types of robots. Section 3 describes the methodology used on this paper for paper
classification. Section 4 conducts reviewed papers based on the different industries,
different work, nationality of the authors, journals name, publication years and nationality
of the authors. Finally, conclusion of the paper is made in Section 5.

2. Types of Robots
Robots are products of revolution of automation technologies and computer
programming to replace human work in daily life from simple repeated work to complex
job that hardly possible done by human. With the integration of machine learning and
artificial intelligent (AI) capability, robot nowadays could perform self-learning and
performing complex actions with simple programing program automatically. The latest
breakthrough in AI integration, humanoid robot is able to perform human voice processing,
understand human facial expression and then express emotion and communicate with

Generally, we group to three types of robots in the market, which are industrial
robots, service robots and humanoid robot. An industrial robot is a robot system used for
manufacturing. Industrial robots are automated, programmable and capable of movement
on two or more axes. An industrial robot also commonly refers to a robot arm used in a
factory environment for manufacturing applications. Traditional industrial robots can be
classified according to different criteria such as type of movements, degree of freedom,
application, architecture and brand. There are ten common types of industrial robots
including Cartesian, articulated, cylindrical, polar, scara, delta, legged robots, mobile or
wheeled robots, swimming robots and flying robots. Industrial robots are used in different
applications such as handling, palletizing, cutting, finishing, sealing, gluing, welding,
spraying and etc. In recent years, there is also a new qualifier for industrial robots called
collaborative robot (COBOT).

Service robots are everything else but manufacturing. The International

Organization for Standardization defines a “service robot” as a robot “that performs useful
tasks for humans or equipment excluding industrial automation applications”. Service
robots are categorized according to personal or professional use. They have many forms
and structures as well as application areas. Some better known service robots are domestic
robots that do the house chores such as robot vacuum cleaners, military robots, medical
robots, logistic robots such as self-drive cars and many more.

A humanoid robot is a robot with its body shape built to resemble that of the human
body. Humanoid robots are designed to resemble human characteristics and emotions. In
general humanoid robots have a torso with a head, two arms and two legs, although some
forms of humanoid robots may model only part of the body, for example, from the waist
up. Some humanoid robots may also have a 'face', with 'eyes' and 'mouth'. Humanoid
robots are generally used as research tools at several scientific areas.

3. Research Methodology

This review paper attempted to review the published papers in various effects to
work, workers and organizations related to the robots. Therefore, this review paper
searched to identify the papers related to robots and its effects to work and workers in
various parts of the published papers such as keywords, title, research method, results,
conclusions and discussions. To classify the scheme, a reference repository has been made,
which included a total of 88 papers in different international scholarly journals from 2009
to 2018. The papers were categorized based on the robot types, year of publication, names
of the journal and nationality of the authors. Firstly, the articles are classified into 3 robots
types (industrial robots, service robots and humanoid robots).

The database used for this review paper were “Scopus” and “Web of Science” as
two important database which cover the extensive range of journals. Other reading items
such as doctoral dissertations, unpublished papers, master and degrees’ theses and text
books were excluded in our review. In this review paper, we use the comprehensive list of
journals indexed by two databases.

In past 10 years, different kinds of engineering and social studies as well as

academic researches on robots have been conducted. They studied on the engineering or
social achievement, problems and issues, technical or social effects of the robots and their
implementations. Different criteria and keywords are considered to identify and choose the
published papers related to the robots and its effects on work and workers relation with
their jobs and organizations. Figure 1 shows the systematic review of analysis and
procedure of this review paper. In this review paper, systematic review is conducted.
Systematic reviews are a type of literature review that uses systematic methods to collect
secondary data, critically appraise research studies, and synthesize studies. Systematic
reviews formulate research questions that are broad or narrow in scope, and identify and
synthesize studies that directly relate to the systematic review question. System reviews
are designed to provide a complete, exhaustive summary of current evidence relevant to a
research question. Systematic reviews also help to reduce implicit researcher biases
(Denyer, 2009).

The purposes and research questions of the review already stated in the Introduction
section. Therefore, the rest of this review paper will focus on how the review is conducted
based on the search criteria applied in this paper.

Figure 1 Summary of Analysis and Procedure of Study

4. Results
4.1 Classifications and Observations

In the past decade, there are many research papers published are related to robots
and their effect on work or worker relations with their jobs and organizations. There are
ongoing discussions about the effects of widely use robots for work in all the industries
especially on the manufacturing industry. Many people worry about possible job loss or
job shift due to robot technology that created at their work place.

This survey review the robots effects on all applications and industries. We have
reviewed the effects of robots at work and workers based on type of robots. The types of
robots are industrial robot, service robot and humanoid robot. This following sections will
discuss the findings in details. This survey is based on a literature review and classification
of international journey articles from 2009 to 2018.

4.2 Robot category

All selected papers were classified according to 3 robot categories which are
industrial robots, service robots and humanoid robots. Table 1 and Figure 2 illustrated the
distribution papers based on robot category.

Type of Robot Number Percentage

Industrial 60 68.18%
Service 26 29.55%
Humanoid 2 2.27%
88 100.00%

Table 1. Distribution of Paper according to robot category



Industrial Service Humanoid

Figure 2. Distribution of Paper according to robot category

Based on the breakdown of the review papers, 60 out of 88 (68.18%) papers are
related to industrial robots and their effects on works and workers related to their jobs
and organizations. Besides, 26 out of 88 (29.55%) papers are related to service robots and
their effects on works and workers related to their jobs and organizations. Only 2 out of
88 (2.27%) papers are related to humanoid robots and their effects on works and workers
related to their jobs and organizations. This is probably due to humanoid is very new
technologies and also they are usually used for research purposes and seldom used to
perform works.

4.2.1 Industrial Robots

The adoption of robots in the workplace has been rapid: in developed countries, the
stock of robots per million hours worked has increased by over 150% in the past decade
and a half (Graetz and Michaels, 2015). The robotics technologies further advanced at the
fast pace, for example, robots now combined with the machining-learning algorithms are
much more flexible and smarter that do not required follow a well-defined protocols. The
introduction of collaborative robot (COBOT) that are designed to work side by side with
humans without fending guards.

Introduction of industrial robots has been found to change the jobs that are available,
the skills that the jobs required and the wages they paid. Generally in the industrial
environment, robots are used to replace human labor doing the routine tasks. Jobs that are
usually in such routine tasks are typically medium skilled such as office clerks, machine
operators and production assembly workers. These jobs are easily replaced by robots that
programmed with well-defined algorithm.

Figure 2 shows the numbers of industrial robots that are deployed widely in the
world. It is observed that there is significant increase in robots deployed for recent years.
There were an estimated 1.2 million robots in use in 2013. This total number increased to
1.5 million in 2014 and is projected to increase to about 1.9 million in 2017.

Figure 3: Number of Industrial Robots around the world

The use of robots in various fields in industries have already been the topic of
scientific study. Some of the existing studies has focused on human–robot interactions, as
well as research about people’s attitudes toward specific types of industrial robot robots.

Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) is interaction of robots and human and how the
human can work side by side with robots. HRI is currently a very extensive and diverse
research activity. Since 2006, every year the IEEE has hosted a specialists symposium on
human–robotic interaction (IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, 2015). Based on our
review papers, there are 11 papers are related to HRI, which are studied by S. Robla-
Gomez (2017), António B. Moniz (2017), Genevieve Bell (2018), Knut R Fossum, et all
(2017), Jonathan Streater (2011), Vincent Wing Sun Tung and Rob Law (2017), Anja
Simone Richert, et all (2016), Thomas B. Sheridan (2016), Michael Lewis (2018), Ana
M. Djuric (2016) and Marco Faber (2015).

4.2.2 Service Robot

According to Philip Calvert (2017), the early 21st century saw the first wave of
companionable social robots. They were small cute pets like AIBO, Pleo, and Paro. The
key factor for a robot’s ability to be social is their ability to understand and respond
correctly to people’s speech and emotion.

There are a lot more robots receptionist and help desks that can be spotted
everywhere in the world including airports, customer service centers, shopping malls etc.
They usually provided with a graphic user interface (GUI) that able to interact with human

In the restaurant industry, some companies are using technology to remove humans
from doing food delivery. Sushi King Restaurants in Malaysia are using tablets that allow

customers to place order directly to the kitchen with no requirement of talking to a human
attendants. Some restaurants even used robots to do the cooking, for example, Universal
Robots COBOT is used to replace chef to fry eggs during their breakfast buffet in the
Meridien Hotel Singapore.

Robots are increasingly being used in health care, elder care and child care to
enhance and substitute labor-intensive services. They can be used for delivery services and
sometimes, giving patient care by interacting with patients. WANG Jia, et all (2009)
discussed the use of autonomous mobile robot used in hospital and their impacts to works
and human reactions towards them.

Lin Guo and Selena Hariharan (2012) used of robots at health care operations. They
proposed some solutions to successfully initiate process improvement using robots for
clinical operations without compromising individualized care for each patient. Seppo
Leminen, et all (2018) examines diverse service innovations created with service robots in
healthcare living labs. The service innovations including socializing, aiding, entertaining
and personal assisting.

Jeppe Agger Nielsena, et all (2016) studied of using service robots at the eldercare
in Denmark. They evaluated the used of robots on the impact on the work processes carried
out in public organizations and how the staff and clients react towards the robot. Martina
Caic, et all (2018) investigated the potential roles for service robots such as socially
assistive robots in value networks of elderly care.

As artificial intelligence and robotic technology continue to advance, the idea of a

robot as a teacher or a companion for a child is no longer confined to science fiction.
NAO, a humanoid robot designed by French firm Aldebaran Robotics, has been used as a
teaching resource for kids with autism in schools since 2013. The international research
project L2TOR, funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission,
designed a child-friendly tutor robot to teach preschoolers a second language. In the
home, social robots, like AvatarMind’s iPal, play with children and act as companions.

Amanda J. C. Sharkey (2016) study is reviewing on the current uses of robots in

classrooms . She characterized four scenarios which are robot as classroom teacher, robot
as companion and peer, robot as care-eliciting companion and telepresence robot teacher.
The main ethical concerns associated with robot teachers are identified as privacy,
attachment, deception, loss of human contact as well as control and accountability.

4.2.3 Humanoid Robot

As robotics become more sophisticated, a new wave of social robots has started,
with humanoids Pepper and Jimmy and the mirror-like Jibo, as well as Geppetto Avatars’
software robot, Sophie (Philip Calvert, 2017).

Anja Simone Richert, et all (2016) investigated whether the appearance of the robot
and its accuracy fulfilling the task (MV2) influence the reaction and stress level of the
human and the cooperation behavior towards the robot.

Eduardo Rodriguez-Lizundia, et all (2015) studied on the use of humanoid bell boy
robots and the effects of robot behaviors on the user engagement and comfort. His paper
provides the results of various trial experiments in a hotel environment carried out using
Sacarino, an interactive bell boy robot. They analyzed which aspects of the robot design
and behavior are relevant in terms of on user engagement and comfort when interacting
with the humanoid social robot.

4.3 Distribution Paper Based on Journals Name

Table 2 presents information about journal distribution which is used for this review
paper. The selection of papers related to robots and the effects on works and workers
relation to their jobs and organizations were found from 76 international scholarly journals
extracted from Scopus and Web of Science.

From the total of 76 journals, journals of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
had the first rank with 4 papers. According to this finding, we can concluded that this
journal is the most important journal as far as robots the effects on works and workers are
concerned. It published more papers related to robots and their effects on work and workers.

Journal of AI & Society is the second rank with 3 papers. This is followed by
Journals of Computers in Human Behavior, Journal of Human Computer Studies,
International Journal of Ethics of Science and Technology Assessment and Artificial
Intelligence which were found with 2 papers published regarding our review topic.

Others journals only found with 1 paper regarding the robots and effects on the
works and workers relations to their jobs and organizations.

Name of Journal Number Percentage

Journal of the Institute of Conservation 1 1.14%
International Journal Human-Computer Studies 1 1.14%
SAE International 1 1.14%
Journal of Manufacturing Systems 1 1.14%
IEEE International Conference 1 1.14%
AI & Society 3 3.41%
Science and Engineering Ethics 1 1.14%
Journal of Economic Perspectives 1 1.14%
The Australian Economic Review 1 1.14%
Journal of Human Computer Studies 2 2.27%
IEEE Woman in Engineering 1 1.14%

Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2 2.27%
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 1 1.14%
Journal of Macroeconomics 1 1.14%
International Journal of Ethics of Science and Technology
Assessment 2 2.27%
Artificial Intelligence 2 2.27%
IEEE International Symposium on IT in Medicine and
Education 1 1.14%
IEEE Global Engineering Education 1 1.14%
Journal of Service Management 1 1.14%
Procedia CIRP 1 1.14%
Socio-Economic Review 1 1.14%
Organization Studies 1 1.14%
Philosophy & Technology 1 1.14%
Journal of Information Technology Case and Application
Research 1 1.14%
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics 1 1.14%
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 4 4.55%
Journal of Visceral Surgery 1 1.14%
Journal of Manufacturing Systems 1 1.14%
Procedia Manufacturing 1 1.14%
IEEE Robotics and Automation 1 1.14%
Technology in Society 1 1.14%
Minds and Machines 1 1.14%
IEEE Potentials 1 1.14%
Engineering Economics 1 1.14%
International Journal of Innovation Management 1 1.14%
ITE Transactions on Media Technology and Applications 1 1.14%
Applied Ergonomics 1 1.14%
Philosophy & Technology 1 1.14%
Foundations of Trusted Autonomy 1 1.14%
Consumption Markets & Culture 1 1.14%
Printed Circuit Design and Fab/Circuits Assembly 1 1.14%
SSRN Electronic Journal 1 1.14%
Wirtschaftsdienst 1 1.14%
Social Science Computer Review 1 1.14%
Information Polity 1 1.14%
Academy of Management Perspectives 1 1.14%
International Journal of Computer Integrated
Manufacturing 1 1.14%
Journal of Information Technology 2 2.27%
Knowledge and Process Management 1 1.14%

Cognitive Infocommunications 1 1.14%
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 1 1.14%
Journal of Risk and Reliability 1 1.14%
European Review of Labour and Research 1 1.14%
International Conference on e- Learning 1 1.14%
Mechanical Engineering 1 1.14%
Frontiers in Psychology 1 1.14%
Societies 2 2.27%
Public Library Quarterly 1 1.14%
Electronic Journal 1 1.14%
Science and Engineering Ethics 1 1.14%
Ethics and Information Technology 1 1.14%
Computers in Human Behavior 2 2.27%
Futures 1 1.14%
Journal of Evolution & Technology 1 1.14%
Machine Design 1 1.14%
SA Journal of Human Resource Management 1 1.14%
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality
Management 1 1.14%
Project Syndicate 1 1.14%
Social Robotics 1 1.14%
International Legal Informatics 1 1.14%
IEEE International Conference on Smart Technologies and
Management 1 1.14%
Brookings 1 1.14%
Human Factors 1 1.14%
IZA World of Labor 1 1.14%
Journal of Economic Perspectives 1 1.14%
IEEE Access 1 1.14%
88 100.00%

Table 2. Distribution of papers based on the name of journals

4.4 Distribution Paper Based on Publication Year

We found the significant increase in the numbers of papers published related to

robots and the effects on the works and workers relations to their jobs and organizations.
However, we do observe that in year 2010 and year 2013, there are no papers found
regarding our review topic.

The number of papers published each years increased from 4 papers in year 2014
to 21 papers in year 2017. In year 2018 up to May, there is already 18 papers published.
We may expect the numbers of published paper related to robots and their effects on works
and workers will increase in coming years. This is probably due to the popularity of the
use of robots in industrial driven by the Industry 4.0. The use of service and social robots
including humanoid robots will also be increasing due to the advance technologies with
machining learning and artificial intelligence.

The number of papers published in each year is further illustrated in Table 3. The
trend of number of published paper versus year also shown in Figure 4.

Name of Country Number Percentage

2009 4 4.55%
2010 0 0.00%
2011 8 9.09%
2012 7 7.95%
2013 0 0.00%
2014 4 4.55%
2015 7 7.95%
2016 19 21.59%
2017 21 23.86%
2018 Apr 18 20.45%
88 100.00%
Table 3. Distribution of papers based on the publication year



7 7

4 4

0 0
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Figure 4. Distribution of papers based on the publication year

4.5 Distribution Papers Based on Nationality of Authors

Table 4 shows that there are 21 countries and nationalities of authors study the area
of the robots and their effects on the works and workers relations to their jobs and
organizations. As commonly known that the robots are widely used in developing and
newly industrialized countries or countries with high wages pay, the results also shows the
similar trend which these countries have the higher number of papers published.

The results in the table shows that United States (US) has the highest number of
published paper in the review area which published 29 papers (32.95%). It is followed by
United Kingdom which has 17 papers published regarding robots and the effects on works
and workers.

Furthermore, the results shows that Germany, Nertherlands, France, Sweden and
Finland which are the Europe contingent also have published 9, 4, 3, 3 and 3 papers
respectively. In overall, we can concluded that the European countries have the highest
count of paper published regarding robots and the effects on works and workers relation to
their jobs and organizations. It may be due to high wages pay in European countries and
their industry automation trend driven by Industry 4.0 which started from Germany.

Table 4 shows the details regarding the nationality of authors with the number of
papers published.

Nationality Number Percentage
United Kingdom 17 19.32%
Spain 1 1.14%
United States 29 32.95%
Portugal 2 2.27%
India 2 2.27%
Australia 3 3.41%
New Zealand 2 2.27%
Germany 9 10.23%
France 3 3.41%
China 1 1.14%
Sweden 3 3.41%
Netherlands 4 4.55%
Belgium 1 1.14%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 1.14%
Finland 3 3.41%
Japan 2 2.27%
Denmark 1 1.14%
Hungary 1 1.14%
Malaysia 1 1.14%
Poland 1 1.14%
South Africa 1 1.14%
88 100.00%

Table 4. Distribution of papers based on the author’s nationality

5. Conclusion

With the advancing of technology in robots nowadays, we can not stop or avoid the
use of robots in industrial or society. Worries and anger about unemployment due to
technology such as robot is not new. It dated back to the Luddite movement in the era of
industrialism when steam and electricity replaced manual human work and has periodically
resurfaced ever since. The 21st century is called as a ‘second machine age’ where artificial
intelligence, machine learning and robots together, replace not only manual work but also
cognitive and non-routine jobs.

There are many research and studies conducted regarding the robots and the effects
on work and workers relation to their jobs and organization. However, very few studies
reviewed and conclude on the impacts based on cross categories of robots. Therefore, this
study is aimed to review, classify and summarize the papers which regarding robots and
the effects on works and workers relation to their jobs and organizations which published
from 2009 to 2018 in 76 international journals accessible in Scopus and Web of Science.

We consider our paper to be a first step towards a systematic investigation of
different types of robots that effect works and workers relation to their jobs and
organizations. . We hope that several areas of research in future will find this paper useful.

However, this review paper has some implications and limitations for future
research. This paper only attempted to classify 3 types of robots. Therefore, we can suggest
future work to classify and summarize the papers in different application of robots or in
different industries. We have another limitation which this paper just focus on English
international scholarly journal, there are some other journals with other languages were not
considered in our paper. We also suggest future study can include other database other than
Scopus and Web of Science.

Business leaders, policy makers or governments and workers need to take actions
to embrace with the technologies to enjoy the full benefits. If there is displacement in labor,
business leaders need to consider how to best redeploy the labor, whether within their own
organization or elsewhere and to act as good corporate citizens. Business leaders can
arrange retraining and skill raising program to support workers to be able to shift to new
roles and responsibilities.

Governments could encourage new forms of technology enabled entrepreneurship,

and help workers develop skills best suited for the automation era. For example, many
economies are already facing a shortage of computer scientists and robot experts.
Government shall ensure such gaps are filled, establishing new education and training
possibilities. Government need to work with education providers to improve basic skills in
the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and put a new emphasis
on creativity, critical and systems thinking

If deployment of robots does result in greater pressure on many workers’ wages,

government could consider adopt some ideas such as earned income tax credits, universal
basic income, conditional transfers, shorter workweeks, and adapted social safety nets.
These implementations can be seen in US and Europe countries.

The workers need to engage more comprehensively with robots as part of their
everyday activities. Tighter integration with technology will free up time for human
workers including managers to focus more fully on mentoring, coaching and management
activities to which machines have yet to master.

High-skill workers such as robotics engineers, specialist or experts who work

closely with technology will likely be in strong demand, and may take advantage of new
opportunities for independent work, such as setup own entrepreneur business. Middle-skill
workers whose activities have the higher potential replaced by robots can seek
opportunities for retraining to prepare for shift in skills for automation. Finally, robots
deployments will create opportunity for workers to act more agile and flexible that robots

not easy to duplicate. As robots take on more of the predictable activities of the workday,
human can focus on managing and coaching tasks.

There will be large-scale shifts in workplace activities over the next century due to
robots. Policy makers, business leader and workers must not wait to take action. There are
measures that can be taken to prepare, to capture the opportunities to offer by robots, and
avoid the drawbacks.


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