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OffshoreExploring the Worlds of Global Outsourcing$
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Jamie Peck

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727408.001.0001

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Noshore, or the Road to Robotistan

Noshore, or the Road to Robotistan

(p.164) 6 Noshore, or the Road to Robotistan

Jamie Peck

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks into a future that even some of those in the outsourcing sector seem to fear—robotic process automation (RPA). The recent development and rapid commercialization of labor-displacing RPA have been prompting the sort of socioeconomic anxiety and futurology that would not be out of place on the science-fiction shelves. Walking this line between prophetic fiction and prospective fact, this chapter focuses on a recent outbreak of robotophobia amongst established business-process and information-technology outsourcing providers in India and the Philippines, where robotic automation is being read by some as a possibly terminal threat to the incumbent business model (predicated on arbitraged, routinized, and low-cost labor), and by others as an invitation to new markets for the design and delivery of cyborg business-services systems. It asks whether robotization may indeed prove to be the “final destination” for the outsourcing industry.

Keywords:   outsourcing, automation, autonomics, robotics, robotic process automation, routinization, deskilling, Karel Čapek, Isaac Asimov

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