Robots are already being widely adopted by a variety of industries, but legal liability is emerging as the new driving force motivating some companies to make the transition.
Companies have been turning to robots to help ease labor shortages, especially in industries that have struggled to regain employees as things return to normal. According to Rest of World, South Korean manufacturer Speefox is adopting robots to avoid potential liability in the wake of a new law that could hold executives legally liable if a company is found to be negligent in an employee’s serious injury or death.
“Throughout our history, we’ve always had to find ways to stay ahead,” CEO Kim Yong-rae told Rest of World. “Automation is the next step in that process.”
The new law is especially concerning to many companies due to its vague wording. Critics have said the law doesn’t clearly indicate exactly what constitutes culpability. Given that executives could end up being fined or going to jail if they’re found liable, the uncertainty is causing a fair amount of angst among South Korea’s businesses.
“The law is a huge issue in business right now,” said Kim Hyo-jin, a managing director at Speefox and Yong-rae’s daughter. “Fortunately for us, we were already automating, so when the law came, we were ready.”