Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) has reported that 4/10 American jobs could be automatized by the beginning od 2030s. In this report, USA was expected to be the first country to lose that many jobs to automation, way ahead of Japan, Germani or the UK.
This prediction was based on two main reasons:
The types of industries
Some industries are more susceptible to the process of automation than others. For example, industries that require a personal touch and critical thinking, like Education, are definitely less likely to be submitted to the process of automation. On the other hand, industries like Transportation or Manufacturing are expected to be the first to go.
Dynamics within industries
The second reason why the USA is more likely to be the first one conquered by robots is dynamics. Even though both low-skilled and high-skilled positions could be impacted, the research has shown that the more routine positions are more prone towards automation. The jobs with greater education or even specialization required appearing to be harder to automate.
With this prediction in one hand and America’s fear of automation in the other, this and similar situations would be expected to be one of Administrations top-of-mind issues. Comments made by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin show otherwise. Not only that he doesn’t seem to be worried about this, but in fact, he seems to think that the process of automation is still 50-100 years away.
Reports like the one PwC has just given are expected to trigger a sense of concern or at least to start the desire for planning, but none of those two appears to be happening. The country doesn’t even have its top science and technology advisors yet since President Trump still hasn’t named anyone. At this time of major scientific and technological changes, the US government seems to be less interested than ever to address these concerns.
Amy Webb, founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute, has stated that “The American workforce lags behind other countries in some ways.” This futurist has recently released a book called “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream”, and the focus of the book is to better understand the future and what it might hold, but also what we should do in the present in order to prepare for such possibilities.
“The current administration has demonstrated that it lacks a basic understanding of what automation actually means from a technical standpoint. As a result, they suffer from the paradox of the present: they outright fear or reject technology that they don’t already understand. Trump’s cabinet has a hard time seeing the future because collectively, they lack direct exposure to the enormously complicated AI ecosystem, and because they haven’t taken the time to learn about this technology,” she said.
The recent survey has discovered that over 40% of Americans fear AI and the possibility of getting replaced by it. Even though such technology does sound intimidating, what we forget is that new technological breakthroughs like this always come with new careers, that currently don’t even exist. The plans and preparations that can be made now could have a major impact on how such future situation will be handled. Capturing the benefits of futuristic technology depends on whether we take this issue seriously or not.
Webb also states that “The current administration should be working furiously to build initiatives for education, training, and workforce redevelopment—and it should also be studying how automation will create new fields and jobs. It’s doing neither, which is putting America behind other developed countries.”
Even though not everyone agrees about what impact AI may have in the workplace, everyone still can agree that there will be an impact and that not planning the future is making the US vulnerable.