Automation is a process that’s being on-going for the past 40 years to take ever more complex tasks and have machines take over. This means that a lot of manual, repetitive tasks have been handed over to robotic arms and minds, freeing the humans to do something more elevated, and possible more stimulating. This will constitute a monumental impact on society, with as many as 800 million workers projected to be displaced by 2030. Nonetheless, there are a few key issues in the way of that vision: skill gaps make it hard to change careers, our social systems aren’t suited to support workers through these new shifts and this phenomenon could accentuate present issues that we are pressing to eliminate, like gender and racial discrimination in the form of pay gaps. For its promises of utmost freedom, there are a few angles to iron out before it becomes reality, creating a suitable environment to guarantee innovation and social welfare (like Sweden!).
Automation Could Displace 800 Million Workers Worldwide By 2030, Study Says
A coming wave of job automation could force between 400 million and 800 million people worldwide out of a job in the next 13 years, according to a new study. A report released this week from the research arm of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company forecasts scenarios in which 3 percent to 14 percent of workers around the world — in 75 million to 375 million jobs — will have to acquire new skills and switch occupations by 2030.
“There are few precedents” to the challenge of retraining hundreds of millions of workers in the middle of their careers, the report’s authors say.
Read the full article here.
How Robots Could Make the Gender Pay Gap Even Worse
A new report published Thursday suggests that robots could make the gender pay gap even worse, stoking existing fears and uncertainty around the concept of automation. In a paper titled “Managing automation Employment, inequality and ethics in the digital age,” the Institute for Public Policy Research argued that a greater share of jobs that women hold—46.8% versus 40.9% for men—have the technical potential to be automated since female workers are more likely to hold low-skill “automatable” occupations. Paired with women’s underrepresentation in high-skill occupations that may be complemented by technology, that means that automation could exacerbate gender inequality.
Read more here.
The Robots Are Coming, and Sweden Is Fine
Sweden’s famously generous social welfare system makes this a place not prone to fretting about automation — or much else, for that matter.
Mr. Persson, 35, sits in front of four computer screens, one displaying the loader he steers as it lifts freshly blasted rock containing silver, zinc and lead. […] He is cognizant that robots are evolving by the day. Boliden is testing self-driving vehicles to replace truck drivers. But Mr. Persson assumes people will always be needed to keep the machines running. He has faith in the Swedish economic model and its protections against the torment of joblessness.
“I’m not really worried,” he says. “There are so many jobs in this mine that even if this job disappears, they will have another one. The company will take care of us.”
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