In the last decade, discussions about the role of humans in the modern working environment have intensified. Publicists, scientists, politicians, business representatives, but also the employees themselves, have started to think seriously about the number of professions that will be reduced in the future by artificial intelligence and machines.
The breakthrough came in 2013 when the results of research conducted by Oxford scientists Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne were published. Although the report concerned the United States, nothing stands in the way of us being able to read it globally. According to Oxford scientists, as many as 47% of jobs in the US are threatened by automation.
According to McKinsey Global Institute, by 2030 up to 160 million women around the world will have to change their profession. Why are we talking about women? Automation is the most powerful tool for office workers, accountants and planners to date. These are 72% of the professions that are occupied by women. Similarly sinister signals are coming from Oxford Economics. According to the institution’s report, by 2030 machines will take up to 20 million jobs in the manufacturing industry. But not all forecasts are so bleak!
The McKinsey Global Institute mentioned earlier reassures that with sufficient economic growth, innovation and investment, enough jobs can be created worldwide to offset the impact of automation. The World Economic Forum is of a similar opinion. According to the Foundation’s specialists, even if the automation will consume 75 million jobs, 133 million more will be created in their place. And that will continue until 2022!
The research company Forrester Research, which is known for its fierce fight against harmful myths about the IT industry and modern technologies, stresses that automation is not a single trend. In a study prepared by its experts, entitled “Future of Work”, we read that what will happen in the future (closer and further) is influenced by various trends, such as the development of the gig economy, blurring of boundaries between industries, as well as the growing need for privacy and transparency. According to the report, automation will open the door to new business opportunities that we never even dreamed of before, becoming a fuel for new business strategies. Both entrepreneurs and employees will need to acquire new skills that will help them adapt to work and live in the new world. There still is a caveat. According to the Forrester report, 29% of jobs will disappear by 2030, and only 13% of them will get their new counterparts.
The situation is complex
Will robots take away our work? As you can guess, the answer to this question goes beyond a simple “yes” or “no”. The situation is much more complex. Proponents of the pessimistic vision of the future (for the employee) like to recall the situation of the automotive industry in the USA from the 1970s and 1980s. It was a time of mass closure of car factories. The reason was due to the switch to outsourcing and the introduction of the first machines completely replacing people. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their well-paid and, as they thought, untouchable jobs in this way. Although some workers have been retrained to other, often better paid positions, many have remained on ice. Those who had worked in one place for 15 or 20 years lost their jobs almost in the blink of an eye. Are there any positive aspects to this? Of course. New technologies were introduced to replace the no longer needed positions, and with them came new positions to be filled by people.
Conclusion? The development of technology is not always gracious to humans, but we cannot avoid it. Specialists emphasize that full automation is the song of the future. In the near future, robots will almost certainly not replace us on the job. What is more, such an “upgrade” can significantly affect our efficiency. In turn, where the machines will appear, many new jobs will be created, including the development of new technology.
The world in ten years’ time
Automation is not only a challenge for the employee. In ten years’ time, and even five years from now, the labor market will look completely different than today. Some professions will disappear completely, others will develop in new directions. There will also be completely new occupations, which we find difficult to talk about today. As a result, employers will have to offer their employees the possibility of appropriate training or expect to lose their best people to the companies that were first in this race. The future, as usual, will belong to the enterprising, active and prudent.
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