Automation and the Future of Work

Automation and the Future of Work

Automation and the Future of Work 2117 1411 Elias Luoma

In the last few years, we have seen and read a lot of reports on the impact that automation, robotics and related technologies will have on our work and careers. We do not know how much AI and automation will affect our work but we are sure that it will be disruptive. As machines replace human beings and do the same type of work more efficiently, it’s time we adjust our plans and adopt new strategies.

Many studies have projected that robots will take most of the jobs from humans in future. That’s only one side of the coin. Another way of looking at it is the AI and robotics will create more jobs than it takes from humans. AI is already transforming businesses and it will contribute to growth through contributions to productivity. These digital technologies will change the way we work. Machines will take over some tasks done by humans and perform them efficiently. So, some jobs will decrease, some will grow and many others will change.

Forecasting this change in the future of work, humans need to learn more skills and enhance their abilities. In some cases, the workers may need to move to better and growing occupations or change their occupations itself. The latest research from McKinsey examines the challenge of automation and shows some critical issues that the individuals and companies will have to solve.

According to their research, the society requires these improvements for contributing to economic growth, providing value for business and making progress on tough challenges. There has been rapid technological progress because of improvements in mechanics, software and sensors. We can see many new generation automation systems these days, such as automated checkouts at stores and automated processes in factories. Automation and Artificial Intelligence have already transformed businesses and are generating value in services and products. Various companies use them to tailor product recommendations, check losses, identify wrong transactions, etc. Automation and AI have in fact created value across sectors and they have the potential to bring in more changes.

Even as these important technologies are beneficial to both business and society, we have to prepare for the changes in future. According to McKinsey’s analysis of over 2000 work activities across 800 occupations, some categories of work can be easily automated. Automation will affect almost all occupations but only around five percent of occupations can be fully automated. The researchers found that about 15 percent of workers worldwide or around 400 million workers can be replaced with automation in between 2016 and 2030. Multiple factors are impacting the speed and scope of automation and AI adoption. Factors include labor-market dynamics, social norms and acceptance and cost of deployment among others.

There will be work for everyone tomorrow as well as in future with AI and automation as it is today. However, the type of work will be different and those works would require new skills and greater adaptability. The best solution is to train both experienced workers and the new and upcoming generations for the challenges in future. Everyone needs to work together and embrace technologies safely.

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