The Edge of Risk Menu Search
New thinking on corporate risk and resilience in the global economy.

Quick Takes

More Than 4 Million Robots Will Be in Industrial Operation by 2022

Source: IFR World Robotics 2019

Robots are flooding the world’s logistics and supply sector, with more than 4 million robots set to be in industrial operation come 2022. As shown above, Asia — and to be more precise, China — is dominating shipments of robotics, with the region witnessing consistent growth in the use of robotics over the past decade compared to America and Europe. 

The slowed demand for manufacturing robots in the United States “may suggest it has hit a saturation point,” writes Ryan LaRanger of PreScouter. Meanwhile China, still the world’s main manufacturing hub, is increasingly turning to robotics to improve its production. As of 2018, China had 140 robots in the manufacturing industry per 10,000 employees — well above the global average of 99 robots.

As advances in robotic technology continue, LaRanger contends, additional industries, such as health care and construction, will open up to “robotic labor.” Training workers “to adopt new technologies into their already existing practice,” he suggests, is essential to ensuring a seamless interaction between human employees and technology, without the need for expensive retraining.

COVID-19 Causes 100% Decline in Seated Diners in Restaurant Industry

Source: OpenTable

Last updated on Wed., March 25,10:09 a.m.

The restaurant industry is in freefall as the calamitous economic impact of the novel coronavirus continues to be felt. According to a new OpenTable report surveying seven countries, restaurants are seeing a 100% decline in seated diners, including online and phone reservations and walk-ins. 

The report includes results from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia. Restaurants in all countries have seen a full decline in seated diners, save for Mexico, which is currently reporting a 96% decline. 

The sharp and sudden decline has already hit jobs in the hospitality sector, with thousands already lost. Restaurants are increasingly turning to their communities for support to stay afloat. OpenTable is providing multiple avenues to support struggling restaurants, like buying a gift card to use in the future or ordering take-out and delivery. Conversely, while dining restaurants suffer, grocery store app downloads, like Instacart and Walmart Grocery, have skyrocketed.

The Internet Is Least Accessible in These 10 Countries

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Key dots: white — overall ranking; green — availability; pink — affordability; purple — relevance; and yellow — readiness

Countries in Africa claim the bottom 10 spots in a ranking on internet availability. This is due to a mix of issues including cost and lack of infrastructure, as is seen in the Inclusive Internet Index, a project between Facebook and The Economist Intelligence Unit, which covers 91% of the world’s population.

For Liberia, where connection is most difficult, access to electricity is one of the root issues. It is also where internet service is the most expensive relative to per capita national income — and, the report says, where “mobile data prices are also among the highest.”

But there has been progress: Broadband connections across Africa passed 400 million in 2018, a twentyfold increase from eight years prior, a report from the World Bank notes. 

The report also highlights initiatives to double internet connectivity across the continent by 2021, compared to 2016, and “to achieve universal affordable and good quality broadband access in Africa by 2030.”

Air Pollution Is Still the World’s Biggest Killer

Source: European Society of Cardiology, March 2020

Air pollution remains the greatest killer of human beings on the planet, according to a new study by the European Society of Cardiology. Air pollution reduces global life expectancy by an average of 2.9 years — almost four times more than parasitic and vector-borne diseases. In fact, ambient air pollution kills more people on the planet than tobacco smoking and violence.

Poor air quality kills more people on average in East Asia (196 deaths/100,000 people per year), Europe (133 deaths/100,000 people per year) and South Asia (119 deaths/100,000 people per year) than anywhere else in the world.

The shortening of life expectancy can be reversed with a cut in greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, removing fossil fuel emissions would result in an increased life expectancy of 1.1 years, according to the study. Nowhere would that improvement be more felt than in East Asia, which could see a three-year increase in life expectancy should action be pursued to reduce air pollution.

Nearly 1 Billion Workers Are in Jobs That Don’t Reflect Their Educational Level

Source: International Labour Organization

As many as 258 million workers in the world are currently overeducated for their jobs, according to new data released by the International Labour Organization.

The bulk of those overeducated workers are in higher-income countries, while undereducated workers are more prevalent in lower-income countries. As illustrated above, overeducated American workers represent 27% of their national workforce, whereas half of the Uruguayan workforce is undereducated.

In total, more than 935 million workers were found to be in jobs that don’t match their educational level, 72% of whom are undereducated. The latest ILO data covers 114 countries of varying regions and income levels, “which means the actual global figures are probably much higher.”

The discrepancy between low- and high-income countries was put down to their disparate economic composition. In low-income countries, “employment is concentrated in low-skilled occupations,” while the opposite is true in high-income countries.

For optimal delivery, please select your region:
Please enter a valid email address.
Success! Thank you for signing up.