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Robots Are Driving U.S. Workers Towards Substance Abuse, Mental Illness

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industrial robot on automotive manufacturing line

Americans who work alongside industrial robots experience a significant increase in mental health problems.

Credit: Unsplash

American workers who work alongside robots are more likely to report mental health problems and instances of substance abuse, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh.

"On one hand, robots could take some of the most strenuous, physically intensive, and risky tasks reducing workers' risk," says Assistant Professor Osea Giuntella, a co-author of the work published in Labour Economics. "On the other hand, the competition with robots may increase the pressure on workers who may lose their jobs or forced to retrain."

The more people work alongside robots, the number of drug or alcohol-related deaths increased by 37.8 cases per 100,000 people, the researchers found. Areas more exposed to robot penetration also saw a small increase in the local suicide rate and the number of mental health issues people reported.

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