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Future of Work and Automation

about 2 years ago by Luigi Muscat Filletti
Person using future technologies

During the last 10 years, our lifestyle has changed massively thanks to advances in the technological industry. Nowadays, we use automation - technology by which a process or procedure is performed without human assistance. It operates equipments such as computers, telephone networks, aircrafts and so much more.

The question is : How will automation change in the future of work?

With today’s technology, roughly half of the tasks that people do today can be automated, but only 5% of all jobs can be entirely automated. An important finding is that even if all occupations are not fully automated, partial automation (where only some activities that make up an occupation are automated) will affect almost all jobs to a greater or lesser degree. The impact will be felt not just by factory workers or clerks, but also by landscape gardeners and dental lab technicians, fashion designers, insurance sales representatives, and even CEOs.

There are 2 main dimensions of how technology is changing the world:

  1. A lot of what humans used to do, are increasingly being done by machines, robots and different computer softwares.
  2. Digital technology is changing of how we organise work - it’s taking us from full time employment (which was a predominant way of living in the 20th century) towards a large variety of non-employment work arrangements.

It is certain that over time humans will have to work side by side with robots. These technologies will displace human labour - they will start doing what humans used to do.

Nowadays, about 60% of all occupations have at least 30% of activities that are technically automatable, based on currently demonstrated technologies. This means that most occupations will change, and more people will have to work with technology.

Some of the tasks we do today, will be able to be done in a much richer way because we will have the benefits of automated support which are much more insightful, eg. real time analysis. Thus this means that new technology will bring new jobs and new opportunities!

The way we work will change over time as machines and artificial intelligences will take over some pieces of what we do - and that will require people to adapt and change. Vasant Dhar, a professor at NYU Business School believes that humanity is facing a really severe challenge. Nobody really knows what the future work will look like but we should be worried about whether or not we will be able to adapt to automation quickly enough.

The other challenge that we will face is - how will we be able to find new jobs for people, be able to pay them for working and also retrain them so that they would be able to do these new activities?