The wave of automation has caused an uproar among working class people with low-skilled jobs. The advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technologies have replaced low-skilled and mundane jobs. Experts have estimated that technological advancements will replace more jobs in the future. On the other hand, some argued that people need to be reskilled to work along with machines and advanced technologies. Providing training and enhancing skillset to work with new technologies will save a lot of jobs. Various sectors including automobile, manufacturing, BPO, and others have undergone a transformation with emergence of automation. In the next decade, more jobs will be replaced. The wave of automation will transform almost every sector in the world.
The new report published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of high-income countries, stated that people have overestimated how easily jobs will be replaced with automation. The paper published by Oxford University academics Carl Frey and Michael Osborne in 2013 stated that nearly 47 percent of jobs in the U.S. were at risk of being automated. This study caused a debate over the advancements in automation technologies and many other studies gave reference of findings in this study in their researches. The recent report offers counterpoints on this study. The report says that the growing fears over jobs being replaced with automation are overblown.
According to the OECD report, only 14 percent of jobs in OECD are “highly automatable”, which implies that the possibility of these jobs being automated is 70 percent or higher. Though this estimation is very less than the study of Frey and Osborne, it is significant as it equates to nearly 66 million jobs. The report highlighted that nearly 13 million jobs in the U.S. alone will be automated.
“As job losses are unlikely to be distributed equally across the country, this would amount to several times the disruption in local economies caused by the 1950s decline of the car industry in Detroit where changes in technology and increased automation, among other factors, caused massive job losses,” wrote researchers in a report.
It is difficult to determine which sector will be impacted with the automation. However, the study outlined that the impact will be severe on group of low-skilled workers and the young generation. Researchers stated that the risk associated with automation is not equally distributed among jobs to be automated. They added, “Occupations with the highest estimated automatability typically only require basic to low level of education.”
The research suggested that although young people are better at adapting to new technologies, almost 20 percent of young people aged below 20 from OECD countries work in low-skilled jobs such as food preparation and cleaning, and nearly 34 percent work in sales and personal services. They are likely to suffer from automation in near future.
The advancement in technologies will create new jobs as well. However, companies need to focus on reskilling of employees and providing necessary training to work with new machineries and technologies. Though automation will be destructive, re-qualification can help in countering it up to some extent. Governments need to provide training and funding to groups which are at the most risk.