AI and robotics are playing an increasingly crucial role in the manufacturing industry. According to Manufacturing Tomorrow, 38% of industrial robots are used for material handling, which refers to the general movement of materials on a factory floor – part selection, packing, loading, and unloading. 29% of manufacturing robots are used for welding, and are more precise and consistently precise than human welders. The manufacturing business is constantly looking to cut costs, so the largest impact on their business model is simply that they can eliminate expensive and imprecisive human workers and replace them with automated solutions that are overall cheaper, more precise, and more predictable in when they malfunction. Customers of the manufacturing industry receive higher quality products as well.
AI and robotics works well for this industry because the industry is focused on high output at a consistent rate, with tasks that are usually quite menial and thus easy for humans to get wrong, since the task is boring and not mentally engaging.
Similar industries that could be impacted include other areas with human workers and low margins, like waiting tables (several restaurants now provide kiosks where customers can pay their bill without ever talking to a server). The impact is that many low-education jobs could be eliminated and those people would need to find new jobs, which could be difficult as the overall job pool shrinks or begins demanding more skills.