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Skip to content. The aluminium cab of an all-new F pick-up truck moves down the robot assembly line at the Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, Michigan, November 11, It's been a common dilemma since the dawn of the industrial age, machines taking jobs away from people. We call it automation. Speakers at the World Economic Forum this year said about seven million jobs will be lost and two million gained by the year as a result of technological change in the 15 major developed and emerging economies.
We may have to think about: When much of the work driving output in the economy is being done by machines, what do wage models look like in that world? And that's a big question. Manyika co-authored a recent article analyzing which industries are using automation. Beyond the next decade or so, however, Manyika projects that 30 percent of activities in about 60 percent of jobs will be automated. In other words, he says, while jobs may not be eliminated, they are going to change dramatically.
In many cases, people will likely not be totally replaced, Manyika says. Instead, machines will complement their activities. These jobs are very easy to automate, Manyika says, so rates of automation may actually be as high as 15 to 20 percent.
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Howie Choset, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, understands the anxiety and also sees great potential in automation. Choset cites companies that are working to create "collaborative robots" — robots that work in close proximity to people or directly with people, in order to help them carry out tasks.
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Robots will allow workers to carry out tasks more quickly, with better attention to quality, fewer errors, better safety and a more ergonomic working environment for the person, as well. Robots will likely never take over jobs in which the human touch is fundamental, like in caregiving, nursing and teaching, but Choset says robotic tools may provide a useful complement. In addition, robots and technology require designers and software developers — jobs that require higher-level thinking and creativity. The broader question, as automation continues to progress, is how we are going to restructure our world so it works for everybody.
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How advances in automation will change the future of work
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