There's a lot of talk right now about the impact of immigrants on American jobs. In reality, however, the real bogeyman when it comes to displacing workers isn't immigrants -- it's robots.
Case in point: Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) vast network of fulfillment centers is using 45,000 robots to help it pick, sort, and ship units faster. The robots are made by Kiva Systems, which was acquired by the online retail giant for $775 million in 2012.
"Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva's technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow," said an Amazon executive when the deal was announced.
Since purchasing Kiva, Amazon has rapidly scaled up the number of robots it uses in its distribution system, adding approximately 15,000 a year.
And Amazon is just one example of a company that's turning to robots to increase speed, accuracy, and efficiency. There are self-service checkout counters at grocery stores. Robo advisors are helping investors save for retirement. And if you go into a McDonald's nowadays, you'll find self-service kiosks, and even a Big Mac ATM, that eliminate the need for cashiers.
Bill Gates even went so far recently to suggest that robots should pay income taxes. "If a human worker does $50,000 of work in a factory, that income is taxed," said Gates. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you'd think we'd tax the robot at a similar level."
In short, people have a right to be worried about jobs in the future, but if you're looking for someone to blame for the trend, then you'll need to find a robot.
Offer from The Motley Fool: The 10 best stocks to buy now
Motley Fool co-founders Tom and David Gardner have spent more than a decade beating the market. In fact, the newsletter they run, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the S&P 500!*
Tom and David just revealed their ten top stock picks for investors to buy right now.
*Stock Advisor returns as of 1/30/2017.
More from The Motley Fool
Dueling Analysts Debate Netflix, Inc.'s Fourth Quarter
Both the bull and the bear might be mostly right -- they just disagree on what matters most.
3 Growth Stocks Worth Owning for the Next 50 Years
These stocks have the potential to reward investors for decades to come.
The Smart Speaker Trend Is Just Getting Started
Dozens of manufacturers will make new smart speakers this year, but Amazon and Google will remain on top.