Robots fill gaps of decreased human workers in Singaporean businesses

Robot workers are now taking the helm of Singaporean establishments after lockdown protocols were strictly implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many businesses have employed robots to do tasks since regular human employees are now out of reach because of the restrictions.

Between December 2019 and September 2021, the number of foreign workers fell by 235,700 – a workforce that the city-state highly depends on. The manpower ministry noted that this development aid in the speed-up of the “pace of technology adoption and automation” by companies.

For example, the four-legged robot named “Spot” works at a construction site and sends data to their company control room regarding work and progress on mud and gravel. Its employer is Gammon.

Michael O’Connell, the general manager of Gammon, said that using Spot to do the job halved their required manpower. “Replacing the need for manpower on-site with autonomous solutions is gaining real traction,” he said.

O’Connell believes that automated workers are becoming a trend, and it is here to stay.

The Singaporean National Library is also utilizing two shelf-reading robots that can scan up to 100,000 books.

The assistant director of the National Library Board said, “Staff need not read the call numbers one by one on the shelf, and this reduces the routine and labor-intensive aspects.”

Robots have also penetrated jobs that directly interact with consumers. Over 30 metro stations plan to use robots in their daily operations.

Chief Executive of Town Digital, Keith Tan, said that the rise of robot workers would automate business systems. According to Tan, it solved the “biggest pain point” in food and beverage, which is finding staff.

Amid all the excitement, many people also said that human interactions are better and more needed by customers. “We always want to have some kind of human touch,” said one commuter.