According to a new report, 800 million jobs could be lost by the year 2030 all over the world due to automation. The study that was carried out by McKinsey Global Institute says that technological advancements in robotics and Artificial Intelligence will have a drastic effect on the working population. The report says that the ripple effect that will be caused by automation will be similar to how societies shifted from agriculture to manufacturing in the industrial revolution. An estimated 39 to 73 million employment opportunities will be automated in the United States alone. This population in the US comprises about 33% of the total working population.
The report also notes that technology will not be a destructive force just like in the past as new employment opportunities will emerge and the existing jobs will be redefined. The working population will also have the chance to change careers quickly as compared to the past. The researchers, however, say that the challenge that will face this generation is knowing how to manage the transition. There is likely to be a growth in income inequality which will lead to possible political instability. Middle-aged professionals will want to retrain for new better-paying careers as compared to the young generation.
The changes in the job market structure will not affect everyone in equal measure. If the cutting-edge technology of today is accepted, only 5% of all the available jobs are likely to be fully automated. However, only a third of the operations will be fully automated in 60% of all the jobs in the employment market. Researchers from the McKinsey institute quoted a 1960’s commission from the US government which summarizes that “technology destroys jobs, but not work.” The commission used the example of the advent of computers in the global market in the 1980s. The study inferred that invention of personal computers led to the invention of more than 18.5 million new employment opportunities despite the fact that accounting jobs decreased. This case study may also be accurate for the advent of Artificial Intelligence and robotics.
It is important to note that the art of economic forecasting has never been an exact science and researchers from McKinsey stress that their inferences are just predictions which are not binding. For instance, the statistic of 800 million employment opportunities being lost worldwide is an example of a worst-case scenario. The report also proposes a median estimate of 400 million opportunities globally.