Las Vegas: MGM Mulls Replacing Humans with Robots
March 08, 2019, 07:25 PM
Print Friendly and PDF

In 2018, Las Vegas casino workers organized a strike, and the threatened machine takeover of jobs was a major issue: a Guardian headline from June 2 declared, ‘Robots can’t beat us’: Las Vegas casino workers prep for strike over automation. A deal was struck with MGM, but now the casino sounds like it will renege.

Perhaps America needn’t be importing low-skilled foreign workers when smart machines will be replacing humans as soon as the mechanical devices can do the jobs less expensively.

Tech experts forecast a highly automated future: Oxford researchers forecast in 2013 that nearly half of American jobs were vulnerable to machine or software replacement within 20 years. Rice University computer scientist Moshe Vardi believes that in 30 years humans will become largely obsolete, and world joblessness will reach 50 percent. The Gartner tech advising company believes that one-third of jobs will be done by machines by 2025. The consultancy firm PwC published a report last year that forecast robots could take 38 percent of US jobs by 2030. In November 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute reported that automation “could displace up to 800 million workers — 30 percent of the global workforce — by 2030.” Forrester Research estimates that robots and artificial intelligence could eliminate nearly 25 million jobs in the United States over the next decade, but it should create nearly 15 million positions, resulting in a loss of 10 million US jobs. Kai-Fu Lee, the venture capitalist and author of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, forecast on CBS’ Sixty Minutes about automation and artificial intelligence: “in 15 years, that’s going to displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.” A February 2018 paper from Bain & Company, Labor 2030, predicted, “By the end of the 2020s, automation may eliminate 20% to 25% of current jobs.”

A dealer robot burps out endless cards:


It’s not a good sign for the human team that an agreement with a company can be so easily swept aside when cheapie robots beckon.

MGM Could Replace Many Employees with Robots, Vegas Slots Online, March 7, 2019

30-second summary:

=> MGM is thinking about replacing workers with robot technology in its Las Vegas Strip properties

=> Its 2020 plan calls for reducing thr workforce by about 2,1000 people to save $300m in the coming years

=> Unions and workers will likely react strongly to such a move

=> A McKinsey and Company report estimates that by 2030, 800 million jobs will get robot replacements

Robots taking over employment

Many corporations are embracing the latest robotic technology. Companies can make many processes more cost- and time-efficient by using robots and other types of technology.

In a lot of industries, robots can now be more efficient and productive than people. This sparks the debate about protecting these jobs for humans or to allow robots to make these processes more efficient.

MGM, one of the major global casino companies, is considering replacing some workers with robots, which will cause some concern for their employees and those in the industry as a whole.

The company has been looking into doing this at their MGM properties on the Las Vegas Strip as a way of cutting costs considerably. It is likely that the casino worker unions in Nevada will soon be up in arms about this issue.

Among those who could be replaced are cashiers and bartenders. Automatic technology that can make drinks would replace the bartenders and monetary transactions could be done through standard payment technology.

There would also be mobile payment processors going around the floor with the wait staff, eliminating the need for cashiers. There is no indication as to how many such jobs would be replaced at the MGM properties.

Reaction to this potential move

The unions and workers will not be happy with this news. Jobs will be lost and it may also violate the labor agreement that MGM struck with the unions last summer.

The Las Vegas Culinary Union (LVCU), which represents bartenders, kitchen staff, and wait staff, reached a five-year deal in June 2018 with the MGM.

The agreement guarantees that MGM will not implement any technology that would have a negative impact on employment. However, the news that the MGM is considering replacing some workers with robots could mean that the company is not willing to fulfill this agreement. (Continues)

Print Friendly and PDF