Digital Automation will Negatively Impact High-Skilled Jobs

There are several analyzes that try to anticipate the future impact of machines that learn, reason and program themselves. It is a fact that this technology will transform the employment market. And what experts also agree is that full automation will be less significant than the reorganization that businesses will experience. That is, it will replace functions rather than jobs.

This technology is emerging and has multiple functions, which makes it difficult to bring clarity to the clash between catastrophic forecasts and the utopian vision of artificial intelligence. In fact, there is no definition that encompasses its capabilities and operations. The challenge, therefore, is to try to discern what kind of occupations will be most affected by digital automation.

The Brookings Institution opens the prism. The American reflection group has just published a study prepared with a new analysis technique developed by Professor Michael Webb of Stanford University. It uses 769 occupations as a reference and determines that 740 of them “are exposed and can be complemented or completed by artificial intelligence”.

“This does not mean that these jobs are going to be completely replaced and result in a loss of jobs,” warn the authors, “although the impact will be significant in virtually the entire labor market” and its effect “will not be distributed in a way uniform”. So far everything in line with what other works anticipate about the power of automation transformation.

The Webb model, however, deviates from the employer and anticipates that the most well-educated and relatively high-paid employees will be the most exposed to new technologies. They are those with a university degree, considered middle or upper class employees, as sales managers, supervisors, programmers, lawyers, engineers and analysts.

The greatest pressure will fall on 18% of employment in the US or 25 million employed. 34% of the workforce (48 million) may experience an average impact. For 48% of employees (67 million), the effect of technological disruption will be low. Elite employees, such as CEOs and senior executives, would somehow be protected.

By industries, undoubtedly the most exposed by automation are manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and extractive. The story changes when the impact on the highest paid professional and technical services is analyzed, where artificial intelligence helps to optimize processes and eliminates duplication. They are occupations where men are overrepresented.

No one, therefore, is immune to the shocks of automation in employment. “Artificial intelligence will be as central to office jobs as robotics has been to production economics,” says Mark Mauro, the principal investigator at Brookings. “It will fundamentally change what work is and what humans do. Nobody receives a free pass. ”

The Webb model completes, therefore, studies like the one carried out by PwC, in which it explores the potential challenges of automation over the next two decades. It indicates that 38% of jobs in the US could be “automatable”. The short-term impact will be felt more in financial services, where algorithms allow more efficient analysis and functions. The least affected would be areas such as health or education, which depend on the human touch.

The most vulnerable, augurs PwC, will be the employees with the lowest level of training. Brookings, based on Webb’s analysis, does not fully question this thesis. But it does point out that there are “numerous low-paying jobs” that will be relatively poorly exposed to the expansion of digital automation and insists that the highest paid non-productive occupations will face the same challenges.

Muro concludes, in any case, that workers with higher incomes will be better prepared to navigate this tectonic change in the labor market, because they will have more financial resources and better training. Brookings admits that his analysis introduces new “puzzles” about the irruption of automation, but considers that these works are necessary to understand their implication.

 

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Digital Automation will Negatively Impact High-Skilled Jobs - There are several analyzes that try to anticipate the future impact of machines that learn, reason and program themselves. It is a fact that this technology will transform the employment market/10

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There are several analyzes that try to anticipate the future impact of machines that learn, reason and program themselves. It is a fact that this technology will transform the employment market

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