Robots could steal 80 million U.S. jobs
80 million jobs in the United States are at risk of being taken over by robots in the next few decades, a Bank of England (BoE) official warned on Thursday.
With U.S. data showing that total nonfarm employment hit 142.6 million in October, that’s roughly over half of the total jobs at risk.
And the U.S. isn’t the only one who’d be at the mercy of the mechanical hands.
In a speech at the Trades Union Congress in London, the bank’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, said that up to 15 million jobs in the U.K. were at risk of being lost to an age of machines, which is around half of the employed population.
To come to its conclusion, the Bank of England conducted a U.K. study which organized occupations into three categories: high, medium and low probability of automation, and demonstrated the share of employment these jobs represented.
It based its survey on research by Oxford professors Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey and Dr. Michael Osborne, who projected a similar change in the workforce over the course of the next few decades within the U.S. Thus, the BoE’s own predictions suggest these developments could also materialize over the next 20 to 30 years.
Jobs with the highest level of being taken over by a machine in the U.K. included administrative, production, and clerical tasks. Haldane gave two contrasting examples of risk, with accountants having a 95 percent probability of losing their job to machines, while hairdressers had lower risk, at 33 percent.
With robots being more cost-effective than hiring individuals in the workplace over the long term, jobs with the lowest wages were also at the highest risk of going to the machines.
However, Haldane did admit that these projections “may be far too pessimistic.”
“The lessons of history are that rising real incomes have ridden to the rescue, boosting the demand for new goods from new industries requiring new workers,” Haldane noted, adding that in the past, workers have moved up the income escalator by “skilling up,” therefore staying one-step-ahead of the machine.
Haldane suggested society may have an edge against machines in jobs which require high-level reasoning, creativity and cognition, while AI (artificial intelligence) problems are more digital and data driven.
Read more here.