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Job automation threatens employment opportunities

Future jobs will be replaced with proliferation of artificial intelligence and robotics.   |   Tim Seeberger/THE CHIMES

 

While President Donald Trump has worked on keeping American factories alive by rewriting trade deals, taxing imports and removing regulations, a greater risk to the loss of jobs lies ahead. The automation of jobs has been a threat on the horizon for years. 38 percent of jobs in the U.S. are at high risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Many manufacturing and warehouse jobs have been taken over by robots. These jobs are primarily physical and most susceptible to automation.

A frightening prospect

While job automation can be frightening, there is still a long way to go before a large amount of the workforce is automated. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that by 2055, 50 percent of the workforce will be automated. As a USA Today article explains, “McKinsey counted more than 70 entire professions in which at least 90% of activities can be automated, ranging from mail clerks to ophthalmic lab technicians, tire-repairers, butchers, food preparers and bakers.” One of the main ways to tell if a profession is more likely to be automated is the predictability of the daily routine. For example, accounting firms have begun to use data compile by automated systems to ease the process of advertising their clients.

While there are negative aspects to job automation, there are positives as well.

A large majority of these new robots need a person to operate them and workers will need to be able and willing to adapt to these changes. These jobs will go to higher skilled workers who are able to properly take care of new robots.

Silver linings

There are programs that help prepare students and professionals for the increase in automation. Programs like RAMTEC, Robotic Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative, help give those enrolled advantages and obtain employment. Often a college degree is not required to obtain these jobs. Employers are looking at those who are simply able to perform the job.

Automation is inevitable and many have and will continue to lose their jobs as a result. Yet, for those who are able to adapt to these new automations, there will be success.

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