A quarter of U.S. jobs will be critically disrupted as artificial intelligence
A quarter of U.S. jobs will be critically disrupted as artificial intelligence continues to take hold of the automation of existing work, according to a new Brookings Institution report.
The worrying report, which was published Thursday, claims that around 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high exposure” to automation, meaning at least 70 percent of their tasks could soon be replaced by machines using new technology.
Among those affected are those within the catering industry, inclduing cooks, waiters, and others in food services.
Other jobs include short-haul truck drivers; and clerical office workers.
“That population is going to need to upskill, reskill or change jobs fast,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings.
Muro claims that the changes could happen in “a few years or it could be two decades.”
But as businesses are eager to implement cost-cutting technology, especially during the next economic downturn, the AI takeover could happen rapidly.
The shift toward automating production has happened in previous recessions — and could contribute to the “jobless recovery” following the 2008 financial crisis, according to some economic studies.
But it’s not just industrial and warehouse robots that will replace the workforce, Self-checkout kiosks and computerized hotel concierges will do their part.
Just last year we reported a restaurant startup in San Francisco began running entirely by robots.
The restaurant was the very first in history first to serve burgers cooked and assembled entirely by robots.
The question remains if the majority of Us works will be able to adapt to that shift without being displaced.
According to MarketWatch: The changes will hit hardest in smaller cities, especially those in the heartland and Rust Belt and in states like Indiana and Kentucky, according to the report by the Washington think tank.
They will also disproportionately harm the younger workers who dominate food services and other industries at the highest risk for automation.
Some chain restaurants have already moved to self-ordering machines; like Mcdonalds who announced it would be replacing all of its cashiers with robotic ‘self-service’ kiosks in all of its restaurants across the United States by 2020.
Google this year is piloting the use of its digital voice assistant at hotel lobbies to instantly interpret conversations across a few dozen languages.
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Autonomous vehicles could replace short-haul delivery drivers.
Walmart WMT, -0.37% and other retailers are planning to open cashier-less stores powered by in-store sensors or cameras with facial recognition technology.
“Restaurants will be able to get along with significantly reduced workforces,” Muro said.
“In the hotel industry, instead of five people manning a desk to greet people, there’s one and people basically serve themselves.”
Many economists notice that automation has an overall positive effect on the labor market, said Matias Cortes, an assistant professor at York University in Toronto who was not involved with the Brookings report.
It can create economic growth, reduce prices and increase demand while also creating new jobs that make up for those that disappear.
But Cortes said there’s no doubt there are “clear winners and losers.”
In the recent past, those hardest hit were men with low levels of education who dominated manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs, and women with intermediate levels of education who dominated clerical and administrative positions.
In the future, the class of workers hit by automation could grow as machines become more intelligent.
The Brookings report analyzed each occupation’s automation potential based on research by the McKinsey management consulting firm.
Those jobs that remain mostly unscathed will be those requiring not just advanced education, but also interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
“These high-paying jobs require a lot of creativity and problem-solving,” Cortes said.
“That’s going to be difficult for new technologies to replace.”