“The central question of 2025 will be: What are people for in a world that does not need their labor, and where only a minority are needed to guide the ‘bot based economy?”The above is one of the most talked about topics in the recent era. Actually, the topic in itself covers a lot of aspects and needs much attention. Ever since the industrial revolution, the tide of debatable topics, discussing the pros and cons of cheap human labor versus that of machines came into picture. Now, when we have entered the age of automation, this tide is in full swing. The need to define a trade of between these two has never been as important as it is now.Reduction of cost has always been the soul motive of any operation in an organization. The focus is upon how we can generate maximum output with minimum input. As a manager, either you go for cheap labor or make use of machines to perform the required task. With the disruptions in the technological arena in the present era, the later one seems to clearly win the battle. As per the report of the BCG, the manufacturing sector would experience a 25 percent hike that could account a 16 percent decrease in labor costs.Developing countries are a very good source of low-cost labor. But, such nations are no more outside the scope of digital revolution. Latest trends like machine learning, artificial intelligence and digital automation ensure high rate of productivity with quick delivery of results. This is the utmost need for a developing country to become an advanced one. That remains the main reason why developing economies have been the hit the hardest in terms of achieving social and political goals. Take the example of India’s largest warehouse robotics startup, GreyOrange. As per their report, the robots could replace 60-80% of the warehouse workforce. This shows how dramatic the disruption could become to human work, especially in a developing country like ours.On one aspect, where advancement in automation has really helped in achieving far better results, it has turned out to be a huge threat for job loss. Several reports have found that as many as 50% jobs could be replaced by robots by the year 2030. What about the plight of such a huge work force? The manufacturing sector presents an appropriate example. With concern to the data from 2010 to 2016, the increase in outputs has been 10 to 20 percent, but only a mere 2 to 5 percent increase in jobs. That means the equation between output generation and unemployment go hand in hand. Parkdale’s mill in Gaffney in South California is a leading industrial equipment supplier. Today, it produces two and a half million pounds of yarns a week with only a workforce of 140. That production level required around 2000 workers in 1980 – a reduction of 93% workforce. It has both outlooks – such a high level of productivity or a huge job loss. A low-cost labor losing his job at the stake of advancement in technology is a grave issue.While discussing such an issue, one cannot miss out on political aspects. Consider the case of driverless cars. The American government gave a clean chit to them to hit the roads of California and New York. But, Indian Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari said in a statement that India already suffers from an annual shortage of 22,000 trained drivers. So, the Indian government isunwilling to give the green signal to them. This again reminds us of the difference in the roles that the government of a developed nation and developing one could play.”Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master”Recent, an incident happened in Facebook, where two robots ‘invented their own language’ and started communicating with each other. So, one cannot deny the adverse effect of automation. Artificial Intelligence remains one of the hottest topics to be pondered about. Famous personalities like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawkins have expressed their concerns upon this issue very clearly. They consider AI could prove disastrous for mankind. This is one corner where automation stands nowhere to low-cost labor. Advancement in technology at the stake of mankind would be worst idea one could ever have.”There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better”The above statement was recently said by Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of SpaceX. He stated his point of view very clearly. If this trend continues people would continue to lose their jobs. So, he calls for a concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) which he recently mentioned to be made necessary. Moreover, the Indian government also mentioned UBI in the 2016 Economic Survey.Jack Ma always says, “The world today is full of opportunities”.The only thing is how to grab it to the fullest. There have been arguments that we can deal with digital job loss by training people for new middle class jobs. In Germany, companies like Bosch follows a 3-year vocational training program where mechatronics is being taught to young people. The possibility lies that technology will be able to open new forms of industry that are labor intensive in sectors like green energy, sustainability and elsewhere.”Every coin has two sides. Your mindset decides which side to look.”We should look for ways where we could minimize the adverse impact of both sides. Effort should be made to use them at the right place and for the right cause. One aspect could be this one. From 2010 to 2017, a total of 356 deaths of sewage workers occurred which accounts for an average of 44 every year. This got even worse last year when the death toll was 90 which was even higher than those of security personnel in J & K, i.e. 54. Automation is one tool which we should use in such areas to serve mankind to the fullest. That is only one proposal and a lot many exist. Moreover, it’s high time to give shape to our proposals. After all, “example is better than precept”.The one way is to trace an optimal solution, considering the pros and cons of the low-cost labor and automation. A combination of both is the need of the hour.