Robots and the Future of Automation

March 2nd, 2017


MIT Technology Review just posted an interesting article about the future of automation. The McKinsey report referenced in the article and widely covered by the media in mid-February paints a much rosier prediction than other outcomes about the future of jobs given the rise of automation. It’s nice to think that the economy will flourish with humans working alongside robots for the foreseeable future. However, ultimately, the report essentially says the same thing as everybody else does which is jobs are going to be displaced by automation.

The only significant differentiation is about timeline. While I would love to believe the report’s predictions are correct, I can’t see how that is the case given the number of roles that will be lost to full automation in the next five years alone.

The cost-benefit to companies are so extreme that they will have no choice but to employ as much automation as makes sense and conversely let go of many individuals whose productivity is lower. Check out an excerpt of the article here:

We know that automation is affecting the labor market, but forecasts differ on how swift and dramatic the future impact will be. A new report now suggests things may happen more slowly than some have predicted.

Last month, it was reported that Foxconn plans to replace almost every human worker in some of its manufacturing plants with a robot. Perhaps more worrying for office workers was the news that a Japanese insurance firm was sacking over 30 staff because artificial intelligence could calculate payouts just as well as humans. No wonder that two-thirds of Americans believe that robots will soon take on the majority of work currently performed by people.

And read the full article here.

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