Study Suggests that 47% of US Jobs May be Lost to Robots Over the Next 20 Years
Oxford University has just published a large study into the dynamics of robotics in the US labor force and concludes that there is the possibility that as much as 47% of the labor force may be replaced by robots over the next two decades.
The question that comes to mind in such matters is which jobs or job sectors will be most negatively impacted by artificial intelligence (AI). Well, the report says pretty much what many of can observe already: lower-skilled jobs. The more repetitive a job is, the more likely it will be that a robot will be able to perform the job. Now, this doesn’t mean that a robot will do 100% of the tasks of a lower-skilled job. Rather, it means that as certain tasks go under robot control, fewer humans are required to work at that same job.
Take for instance automated checkouts at the grocery stores. It isn’t uncommon so see one worker effectively manage eight automated checkouts.
According to a story in Wired, 70% of the jobs that exist today will vanish by the end of the century.
“Everything that humans can do, a machine can do,” Moshe Vardi, a computer scientist at Rice University, told the Associated Press. “Things are happening that look like science fiction.”
According to macrobusiness, “the likelihood of a job being vulnerable to computerisation is based on the types of tasks workers perform and the engineering obstacles that currently prevent machines from taking over the role.”
And it’s not just manufacting jobs that are at risk either.
Desk dwellers are no longer immune either. Algorithms for big data are now rapidly entering domains reliant upon pattern recognition and can readily substitute for labour in a wide range of non-routine cognitive tasks. Those working in fields such as administration could once feel comfortable that a computer would never be able to do their job but that will no longer be the case for many.
Obviously, people with a background in engineering, electronics, and applied technologies will be well positioned to earn good income. Also, as robots become more prevalent in the work force, opportunities will arise in the businesses that manufacture and maintain the robots.
According to Money Morning, it is possible that emerging technology will create new, better jobs, as has happened in the past, but this time around, that doesn’t seem to be happening, mainly because the rapid pace of change is outstripping workers’ ability to adapt.
“Tech progress can make the pie bigger yet still make a lot of people worse off,” Erik Brynjolfsson, head of MIT’s Center for Digital Business, told The Boston Globe. “It’s the big paradox of our era.”
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