Over the past few years, there has been a growing fear that robots will take over the planet. Movies such as The Terminator propagated the idea that a new race of artificial intelligence will evolve and eventually be the demise of the human race.
While we don’t appear to be at imminent risk of termination by an Arnold-like android just yet, the reality is that the use of robots is accelerating faster than ever, and we already see robots capable of busting out dance moves, connecting with humans, and driving our cars.
The phenomenon of robotization is more accurately characterized by a shift in the type of jobs available; it creates an opportunity for us to let robots do the more routine, mundane, or even dangerous jobs, while we can focus on creating value and insights.
What’s the robotic reality for my line of work?
A 2019 report by McKinsey Global Institute that studied 46 countries and more than 800 types of jobs came to the staggering conclusion that 800 million workers are at risk of losing their jobs to automation by 2030. The report also estimated that 375 million workers likely will have to switch occupational categories by 2030 in order to avoid unemployment.
The report also highlights that as few as 5% of occupations can be fully automated. However, 60% of existing jobs can be partially automated. This implies that humans must get used to working in collaboration with robots. According to the OECD, this will vary between geographical areas. For instance, “33% of all jobs in Slovakia are highly automatable, while this is only the case with 6% of the jobs in Norway.”
The people who are most vulnerable to robotization are those who perform routine jobs in predictable environments, such as activities in manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, agriculture, and food service. In addition, robots will have an impact on jobs that collect and process data. This may impact jobs such as cashiers, accountants and bank tellers.
The people who are most vulnerable to robotization are lower- and middle-class workers who perform routine jobs in predictable environments, such as activities in manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, agriculture, and food services. In addition, robots will have an impact on jobs that collect and process data. This may impact jobs such as cashiers, accountants, and bank tellers.
Replacing human labor with machines is not a new concept. We’ve been doing it for almost 200 years, from the spinning jenny to the printing press.
As with any major development throughout history, some jobs may become obsolete, while other jobs may shift and completely new roles will emerge. In order to adapt to the future, it is essential to prepare today’s workforce for the technological advances to come. The use of robots will only escalate, but not towards a Terminator version of the future. Rather, we’re looking at a future in which we’re working side-by-side, in tandem, with our robotic counterparts.