Will employee relations be a thing of the past?

According to Time magazine Canon is considering moving to robot-only production for its cameras. This follows on from news stories last year that gadget manufacturer Foxconn was considering a similar move. Both are motivated by the need to reduce costs, whilst I was excited that the science fiction future of my youth seemed to be coming a step further to reality I was concerned by two things:

  • Would this move to having robot workers turn out products as bad as the Italian car manufacturer who promoted robot made cars in the late 1970s?
  • What would happen to all those PR people involved in employee relations? Would they be made redundant in the face of a drastically reduced work force, or would they be saved by a HR department revolt to banish robots ruining their own power structure?

Archived from a blog that I used write at PR Week.