Technology is creating groundbreaking opportunities, but it also threatens the nature of work itself.
Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly part of many industries. According to Mckinsey Global Institute, 30 million jobs will be automated by 2030, and 82 per cent of Americans express concerns about the effects of automation.
One of the industries that have been severely affected by the effects of automation is the automotive industry. Driving is one of the most common jobs in 29 of the US states with three per cent of the US population working as drivers. Given that self-driving cars are already operating successfully, what will happen with the considerable workforce that will be left without occupation in the next decade? This situation extends to the customer service industry. Moreover, it’s not only blue collar jobs that will be eliminated by automation. Doctors, accountants, tax advisors that historically have been safe are at risks. AI assistants like Siri and Alexa have taken over secretarial and administrative work. We need to start thinking about what will happen when large white collar jobs are displaced.
Adaptability is one of the keywords in the workplace of the future. Employees will have to engage in the process of continuous learning to acquire the necessary skills to work together in the new digital era and see technology as an ally, not a threat.
The negative effects of automation can be diminished if governments and policymakers are aware of the changes that are happening and create programs to re-skill and reintegrate workers. Contrary to what most people think, AI will make businesses more efficient which in turn will create more jobs. What will happen is a reconfiguration of jobs. We’ll let robots do jobs that are repetitive, unsafe and boring while people will continue to inhabit the positions that require creativity, empathy and human connection.