Are Robots Are Taking Our Jobs?

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Robots are already starting to overtake jobs currently held by humans, and with advances in technology, this figure is only going to continue. Automation is continuing to creep into the industry, slowly replacing the need for jobs to include the touch of a human hand. Research conducted by consulting firm McKinsey found that 45% of current jobs have the potential to be run with automation, leading to a serious situation that puts the jobs of millions at risk.

We are already beginning to see major companies implementing automation and artificial intelligence into their operations. Amazon recently opened their Amazon Go stores, which feature completely cashierless stores. Shoppers can simply grab what they want to purchase and walk out, with payment being handled wirelessly through their smartphones. Rideshare services are also aggressively expanding into automated operations, with companies like Uber and Lyft looking to implement driverless cars. Both of these examples offer exciting technological possibilities, but they also spell out danger for existing jobs that many people depend on.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

The fear of technology replacing jobs has long been a concern, dating back to the Luddites of early 19th-century Britain, during the peak of the industrial revolution. It is not debated that further advancements in automation will bring great advantage to the world, but the question remains how disruptive it will be to people’s livelihood. A higher growth in productivity brought on by automation does not guaruntee economic prosperity for all.

A poll which surveyed leading academic economists conducted by the Chicago Initiative on Global Markets showed that 43% agreed with the statement, “information technology and automation are a central reason why median wages have been stagnant in the U.S. over the decade, despite rising productivity.” The problem we are seeing with automation is that while it is eliminating many jobs in our economy, we are not seeing any signs of new technologies sparking the creation of new jobs to offset these losses.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Currently, the jobs most vulnerable to automation include those that involve repetitive tasks that are predictable. However, jobs that rely on some form of creative thinking will enjoy some protection during the coming age of automation. Perhaps most startling is the fact that robots and AI could someday have the ability to replace jobs held by doctors, lawyers and accountants, often lauded as some of the highest forms of professions in terms of economic prosperity.

Avid writer and reader with a curious mind. I'm always looking to get the most out of life! Follow me on Twitter @whatsaschoon

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