“More robots means lower unemployment and better trade performance. […] The United States does not lose jobs because there is not enough work to be done but rather because U.S. industry is not competitive with foreign producers. More robots will help fix this.”
It doesn’t mean robots are bad, only that they are not a panacea. Toyota’s Global Body Line is designed to use welding robots where they are justified, and manual welding where not, using the same fixtures.
In an auto parts plant in Japan, I remember seeing a machining cell with old machines served by robots. A few yards away were new, automated lines that didn’t use robots.
It looked very much as if the old cell with new robots was the result of incremental automation, and that the lessons learned had been applied in the design of the new lines.
Robots are tools. If you know how to use them, they will help you; if you don’t, buying more is just a waste of money.