Automation Will Change Every Job, but Only 25% Are on the Chopping Block

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    According to a new study released by the Brookings Institution, the only workers who should fear the robot revolution are those employed in the production, food service, and transportation industries, which comprise 25% of occupations in the US. These positions are considered “high risk,” as they involve “routine and predictable” tasks easily performed by non-humans. “Most occupations will see specific tasks assumed by machines, but much of their labor will likely be enhanced, rather than fully replaced.”

    The workers most vulnerable are in transportation, production, food preparation, and office administration, which, combined, make up about 36 million jobs, or 25% of the total jobs in the US today. In these occupations, roughly 70% of tasks were considered routine and predictable, prime targets to be managed by machines. The most vulnerable were “packaging and filling machine operators” (100% exposure to automation), food preparation workers (91%), payroll and timekeeping clerks (87%), and light-truck and delivery drivers (78%).
     
  2. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj [H]ard as it Gets

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    25% of the workforce seems like an awful lot of people in a country of 330 million.
     
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  3. WBurchnall

    WBurchnall 2[H]4U

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    I think this author is shortsighted. If my work were enhanced so I could work at 400% the speed thanks to AI and automation, I strongly suspect my employer would need 3 less people to produce double the volume. I suspect, he'd let 3 people go, take double the productivity and add those 3 people's wages to his profit/bottomline.

    Plus AI is coming for blue-collar jobs with AI beating doctors in diganosis, beating out humans in x-ray examinations, better able to do financial forecasts, winning in human resource screenings, etc. The problem seems to be the author is thinking about traditional automation and is engaged in old-school thinking where automation is a physical-process of physical-robots replacing human-labour and hasn't begun to think about where AI automation where it's physically tiny processing equipment replace human mental-labor, human calculations and human decision making.
     
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  4. steakman1971

    steakman1971 2[H]4U

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    I work with automation software. The company I'm working out is using the software to get rid of tedious crap high paid workers are doing now. We are using old software that has no way to automate it (and its not something easily replaced). One person spends 2 hours every morning punching in some dates, changing a few records, and hitting a "go" button to generate reports. The software requires some interaction (you have to hit an OK button every now and then). This is a fairly high paid worker (guessing 80-100k salary?) doing monkey work. Our goal is to give them back 2 hours a day so they can do something more useful (like make sense of the data!). (Not too mention, the software robot runs early in the morning and provides the data faster/more reliable).
    We will also be automating another section of our company soon. This will affect an offshore team - they might actually see a cut back as the license for a robot is cheaper than we pay a worker in the other country. India, Philippines, and other countries might get hurt by this software drastically. The software robots can fairly easily automate tedious, repeatable work.
    Another example - a credit card of mine cracked. I called to get a new one. I talked to an automated system the entire time - this would normally have been answered by a human.
     
  5. WBurchnall

    WBurchnall 2[H]4U

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    Exactly. The author didn't touch on how customer service orientated occupations will be hit. There will be a loss of probably at least 10-20% of phone support worker jobs; not that they were amazing to begin with. I bet you the automated machine was easier to understand than English that is heavily accented.
     
  6. Galvin

    Galvin 2[H]4U

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    Like how the author makes 25% no big deal. That's a F ton of lost jobs. That will create new ghost towns
     
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  7. NeoNemesis

    NeoNemesis 2[H]4U

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    Who is going to buy the products and services?
     
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  8. Loop242

    Loop242 [H]Lite

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    How many jobs do we have today that we did not have in the 80's or 90's? How many were lost since then? typewriter repairman.

    How many jobs were lost because of the steam engine? The steam engine was the start of the industrial revolution and changed the workforce dramatically. It created more cities and increased city pop. It also created the middle class and gave people more free time. Free time allowed people to invest time in education.

    What about the invention of electricity, how many jobs did that take away? Those poor lamplighters. It allowed for the use of A/C and thus the skyscrapers were born.

    I don't think the robotic revolution will be as bad as some people think.
    I think the hard part will be deciding what job field you want to study for. There will be jobs in 10years that do not exists today.
     
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  9. the-one1

    the-one1 2[H]4U

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    Shareholders don't care. They just care about short term this quarter
     
  10. viscountalpha

    viscountalpha 2[H]4U

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    Quality will always have value. Doing good work and being valuable will always be sought after.
     
  11. CombatChrisNC

    CombatChrisNC [H]ard|Gawd

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    I understand the argument you're making. It has some merits. Look at what Henry Ford did to the horse industry. Sure.

    That's shifting jobs from old industry to new industry. It's dealing with new markets which haven't been saturated. It's not having to contend with 100 jobs being replaced by 1.

    Automation is going to be nuts. Wait for the lawyers and doctors to be replaced by the tens of thousands and supported by a few hundred IT people to keep the AI online.

    I'm 34 and work in IT. Desktop and server support, VMware, storage, kind of Jack of all trades. I'm kind of afraid of what automation can do the white collar jobs in my field over the next 30 years.
     
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  12. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    The future will not be exactly like the past.

    Why not?

    Because the type of automation that was done back then and being done now is totally different.

    Its flexible and has some limited capacity for "learning" to do stuff as it goes which was previously something only people could do at all. It can also handle stuff that was once human only like symbols and data processing too which is going to effect lots of white and blue collar desk jobs as well.

    A permanent 25% increase in the unemployment rate (pretty much Great Depression levels) is going to play havoc on our economy and society as well. Just saying "oh pick the right career", something that is already incredibly difficult to pull off for many, is absurdly out of touch.
     
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  13. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Are you kidding? The mechanization of the farming industry alone is the reason for the near death of small farm towns in America. It takes a fraction of the number of humans to grow your food than it did just 60 years ago. Not saying AI/robotics/better machines is bad, but it has been ridiculously disruptive to the people that worked in those fields in the past. It will continue to be so to those it supplants in the future.

    That said, I think a lot more jobs will be lost than created as machine intelligence and robotics matures. Not just transportation and manual labor ones, but things like teachers, lawyers, and stockbrokers will end up losing out to machine intelligence to the point of near non existence. The time when we get to the point where machines can repair the machines that build and program those machines, ushering in our obsolescence, is not likely as far off as we might think. Our lives will fundamentally change at that point. How we define ourselves will change. It is going to be incredible, or terrifying, or a bit of both. I believe the generation that remembers life without cell phones may still be around to witness it.
     
  14. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    I'm a software engineer. Google already has deep learning AIs that can write basic code. AI is an exponential technology. How many doublings does it take to go from a dumb programmer to superior? 2? 3? Doubling times for AI are roughly 2 years. It's very possible IT and programming jobs are being replaced in a 5 year time frame.

    While this article is good for people to read, brookings is, imo, viewing things in a linear fashion, not an exponential one. I'm expecting 50-60% of jobs being replaced in the next 10 to 15 years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
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  15. Gideon

    Gideon 2[H]4U

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    Everyone is always convinced that technology is going to cost them their job. Yet usually what happens is as one industry fades away from being a big employer another rises to take its place due to this new technology. Not only that but usually these new jobs pay better and are less physically exerting. Will take the farming example, yes small towns were hit hard that relied only on farming for employment, they mostly moved to places that were making these new things called tractors and farm equipment and they were trained and they made more then when they were just a farmhand. Having your town or city rely only on 1 industry is a really bad idea and stirs up the fear far more then the reality of what technology does for humanity.
     
  16. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    The difference between the steam engine and AI? Steam engine was a linear technology. AI is exponential with a doubling time of roughly 2 years. The rate of new job creation is a linear one at least until we humans can integrate the AI into ourselves and learn at an exponential rate.
     
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  17. 1Nocturnal101

    1Nocturnal101 Gawd

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    Yep eliminate low wage jobs for automation, now pay maintenance, electrician, and computer engineering professionals 40 times more for repairing the equipment on top of already paying rediculous amounts for industrial equipment, at what point do you consider this cost savings? Since the 70s they said automation would steal all the jobs....news flash all the jobs in reality went over seas to third world nation's for cent to dollar ratio workforces, now that those stable third world nations are either running dry(becoming first or second) and workers want to get paid properly, they are running out of places to run to..........

    So come back home and set up shop with robotics.......fine by me.
     
  18. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    That is what happened in the past where this new automation didn't exist!

    The past doesn't repeat itself perfectly even when conditions are nearly identical!

    And this new automation means that conditions aren't even close to identical so its not reasonable to think things will be the same as they were before.
     
  19. Gideon

    Gideon 2[H]4U

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    History is on my side and your the usual person that thinks it will cause massive unemployment due to "X" reasons. Sadly I will long forget about this thread in 10 years to see who was right. Will just have to agree to disagree on how it will turn out.
     
  20. [21CW]killerofall

    [21CW]killerofall Aliens...

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    This is a little old, but still accurate:
     
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  21. Nunu

    Nunu Limp Gawd

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    Yea this will be bad for many folks. However, new jobs will be created in other areas . I remember seeing somewhere that the US manufacturing sector has around 12 million people. It sounds terrible, but it will not be catastrophic.
     
  22. Dodge245

    Dodge245 Limp Gawd

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    As Software Automation Engineer (yes, im one of those planning to take your job and automate it), I also see around 50% job losses to automation and exponentially a lot more than that. I even see my own job eventually being replaced by AI.

    There is a massive problem though, the companies that look to automate are doing so to save money, at the moment i would say its mostly back end infrastructure being automated (aka I would not want to be a VMWare/Infrastructure/Support Personal) . Soon as those cost saving start to spill into the general consumer area, 30% Job losses is equal to 30% less market for your product...

    In the past people would retrain, and take a different job, Automation and exponential growth however, would mean automation of any job that you could learn, and the AI would learn it before you could, hey look 9 years of training to become a doctor, AI learns it in 2..

    My opinion is you just cant compare this to previous work related overhauls, you are going to need to learn to program AI, or be specialised enough to teach those writing the AI how it should work. 100% of the population training for jobs in which only 10% of the population could fill?

    Alternatively retrain for a manual labour job that is really hard to automate, become a plasterer/plumber...
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
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  23. ProfessorUtopia

    ProfessorUtopia [H]Lite

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    People fear change; something as disruptive as A.I. is straight up fucking terrifying to the masses. I belive, if these predictions come to fruition, it is far more likely to vastly improve quality of life, on a global scale, than result in some sort of dystopia.

    But fear sells, and the product of that fear will stifle progress and result in more harm than the A.I. revolution itself will cause.

    All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.

    Keep being afraid, if you're so inclined. I'll just be over here, embracing the future.
     
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  24. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    Actually its not.

    Again conditions aren't the same therefore you can't reasonably expect things to pan out the same!!

    Usual person?! Its not just "usual people" saying this stuff. Did you not even read the OP much less the linked article saying "expect 25% unemployment rates permanently"??!!

    There are others who think it'll be even higher BTW.

    And you can't honestly just go blowing this off as some random "x" reasons nonsense either. They're quite clear about what will cause the unemployment increases and make a good case for it.

    As others have noted: look at farm employment numbers over the last 50yr and the effect its had on rural areas and small towns.

    They've been economically devastated and are doing nothing but shrinking over time. No new jobs automagically popped out of nowhere there to support those communities for a reason.
     
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  25. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    Its not so much that they fear change its that they fear they're going to be screwed over by their elites and leadership who have so far proven willing to screw over everyone for self profit (examples: bank bailouts from housing bubble, Robo-signing scandal, MERS scandal, credit rating agency scandal, etc).

    Automation has the potential to be either a awful or wonderful thing.

    Its going to come down to how its allowed to effect the masses that will make the difference.

    Doing UBI's or WPA-style work programs plus other stuff like reducing the work week and increased wages in conjunction with increased automation will be wonderful.

    If the current trend of allowing capital to have its way of screwing over everybody but the few elites in control then its going to be awful.
     
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  26. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    Permanent Great Depression-esque unemployment, which BTW is probably more of a minimum than a maximum, without massive and sweeping policy changes to support the masses is absolutely going to be catastrophic.
     
  27. Nunu

    Nunu Limp Gawd

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    Hate to break it to you, but no. Population during the great depression was around 80 mil. We're talking about 25% of 12 million. Not even close.
     
  28. CombatChrisNC

    CombatChrisNC [H]ard|Gawd

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    This is correct. This is 100% correct. The only question is 'when?'

    Also, this:
     
  29. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Capitalism is a self defeating system and needs to be changed every so often to adapt to the new world. UBI is the solution, otherwise you can kiss your capitalism good bye. Eventually automation is going to make most of us irrelevant.

     
  30. NeoNemesis

    NeoNemesis 2[H]4U

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    That's sort of my point. When your company has no clients, no matter how efficient it is, it goes under.
     
  31. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    Where are you getting 25% of 12 million people from??

    The article in the OP is talking about 25% of 36 million people perma unemployed and largely discounts the effect automation will have on blue/white collar jobs in symbols and data processing altogether.

    Others who include those factors have said its much much higher (20-40% of entire US workforce (over 160 million people in the US workforce as of 2018) perma unemployed) over the last few years.
     
  32. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yeah that only is the understatement of the year (or even the decade).
     
  33. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    DIsagree. Shareholders will care, because if nobody buys products, then there are no profits.

    This is why a lot of smart people think we're going to have to have a minimum pay come from the government. My guess is if that happens, it will come out of corporate profits, which will at least partially offset the benefits of eliminating jobs.
    If 25% of jobs go away, there has to be some sort of solution for those people. Maybe the government takes that money and uses it to improve infrastructure and hires blue collar workers to fix roads, bridges and rails.

    Taxing corps will become very popular if 25% of their jobs killed.
     
  34. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

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    Shareholders won't care because most don't think more than a quarter or 2 ahead.

    For the ones that do think farther ahead remember that during the run up to the GFC when already skeevy MBS's were being turned into blatantly obviously fraudulent CDO's and CDO's Squared the reasoning frequently given for what they were doing was IBGYBG (I'll Be Gone You'll Be Gone).

    They knew it'd all blow up they just figured they'd be long gone before it happened and some other Greater Fool would get screwed instead.
     
  35. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yeah we are fucked. Trusting corporations or government to do the right thing? I am just enjoying what time we have left before bladerunner happens.
     
  36. HAL_404

    HAL_404 Limp Gawd

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    can't wait to see what auto-driving cab interiors will look like after folks have a night out on the town :cool:
     
  37. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    I'm 46 and have been in IT for over 20 years. I know exactly where this is going. Automation in our arena isn't going to be robots. It will be AI, scripting, and automated management in cloud services. The effect will be the same, though.

    For systems administration, cloud services and automated deployment will centralize jobs. There will be fewer and fewer local admins and more "cloud support" techs. This will both reduce the number of jobs because the resources will be centralized and require less management and less work will need to be done by people. This, in turn, will reduce the average pay because there will be more people with the skills to do it, and thus more competition. If you adjust for inflation, system admin pay is already down to the level of desktop support pay from 20 years ago. With the improvements in AI recently, that is likely to take a nosedive as AI takes our place.

    With desktop support, more problems will be fixable automatically by operating systems. Windows has already made progress in this area. Most people don't realize just how much automated system file fixing Windows 8 introduced. The system file checker automatically triggers for many errors, and is completely hidden from the user. As much as UAC is hated by people, it has prevented a great many problems with poorly written programs. The number of help desk tickets per computer per year has gone down by over 50% since Windows 7 was introduced because of its ability to automatically adjust compatibility settings for programs. This will proceed, as Microsoft has put a concerted effort into it. In addition to all this, there is a movement toward VDI, where users just use automatically deployed virtual machines with roaming profiles from a thin client. If a VDI user has a problem with a VM, the system can just deploy a new one and delete the old one, automatically. This will all significantly reduce the number of technicians needed to support users. Pay is already dropping to the point of nearing minimum wage in many instances. AI is already being used to automatically correct many infrequent errors with programs. It won't be long before even the best support techs won't be able to make a living from it. It will become another high schoolers' part time job industry very soon.

    The only direction to go is up. Our jobs are going to be replaced, and quite soon. Study up on web site development and database server usage. If you can get into cloud services support, as I have recently, do it. The jobs involved will be reduced over the next several years, but if you're good at it, it could be a safe haven. Just be prepared to deal with less income. That part if going to be unavoidable no matter where you look in IT.
     
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  38. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    They'll likely be automatically cleaned, like many newer public washrooms are now, with completely sealed plastic seats. They'll likely be equipped with sensors to detect certain... emissions... and automatically be sent to a cleaning station before picking someone up again. It will take a bit of time to get there, but it will likely happen. I know for certain such systems are already being worked on.
     
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  39. Nunu

    Nunu Limp Gawd

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  40. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    "Only" 25%!? That is a fricking 1/4 of the jobs! That is a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Yes automation does create new jobs but not as many as they replace and getting a proper education for the those new jobs is a realistic option for the younger people only, not for those who are quickly approaching their senior years but who cannot retire just yet.