Friday, December 29, 2017

Can the Robot Revolution Create Enough Jobs?

See How the Robot Revolution Could Create 21 Million Jobs: Data detective, man-machine teaming managers: some of the ways human workers are likely to be needed to manage artificial intelligence and automation by Vanessa Fuhrmans of The WSJ. Excerpts:
"At least 21 new job categories may soon emerge from technological and other societal changes, says a new report from IT-services and consulting firm Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. CTSH -0.17%
With titles such as “genetic diversity officer,” “virtual store sherpa” and “personal memory curator,” these roles aren’t science fiction, the study’s authors argue. Rather, they are identified as jobs many employers will have to fill within the next decade.

“It’s easier to understand what types of jobs are going to go away,” says Ben Pring, director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work"

"Other studies have concluded that artificial intelligence and automation can create jobs. Many companies building AI systems have found that humans must play an active role in both building and running them. In retailing, store jobs lost to e-commerce have been replaced by jobs in fulfillment centers."

"Michael Reich, economics professor at University of California, Berkeley . . . disagrees with the grim no-jobs future that some envision. “Even if an employer would love to replace all of their workers with robots to make their cars, someone needs to be able to buy those cars made by robots for the business to function.”

Several of the jobs that Mr. Pring and his colleagues envision involve helping companies manage artificial intelligence and automation. There is what the study calls “data detectives:” workers who dig into their employer’s data stockpiles and generate business recommendations. “Man-machine teaming managers” will be needed to ensure machines and human workers collaborate in a way that maximizes results, the study says, while “cyber city analysts” will see that municipalities’ digital systems and processes function smoothly."

"the study describes rising demand for “walker-talkers,” gig workers who answer calls to assist and provide companionship for a growing elderly population as people live longer. On the high-tech side, “augmented-reality journey builders” will help design virtual-reality experiences for consumers, the study projects."

Another WSJ article covered similar issues. See Forget Robots: Bad Public Policies Could Be Bigger Job Killers: Study stresses need for businesses, governments to prudently manage disruption created by automation by Lauren Weber. Excerpts:

"As many as 375 million workers around the world will need to find new occupations or lose their livelihood to automation by 2030, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates in a new report. It isn’t impossible for up to 14% of the global workforce to retrain and refocus, but it requires planning and the investment of will and resources, says Susan Lund, a principal at the Institute."

"The choices that policy makers and business leaders make about how to support displaced workers, invest in education and training, and fund job-creating projects in areas such as infrastructure and energy will all affect the labor market, she says.

If governments and businesses choose wisely, global job displacement could affect as few as 3% of workers, but that depends on how quickly companies adopt automation tools, reconcile regulatory issues, and adjust wage rates for workers, among other factors. Higher wages, for instance, mean companies have more incentive to automate tasks."

"Ms. Lund notes that support for displaced workers can include guidance and career coaching as well as services such as transportation and child care during job interviews. About 15% of all hours worked globally could be automated by 2030 using technology that is currently available"

"60% of all occupations could be at least partially automated with current tools, though fewer than 5% are at risk of total automation."

"The new jobs that emerge may be the indirect result of technology’s contribution to higher productivity and rising incomes"

"More jobs will also be created to . . . develop and maintain future technology . . . and to staff energy-efficiency initiatives."

Related pots:

What Econ 101 Can Teach Us About Artificial Intelligence

Are Robots Going to Steal Our Jobs? Many technologists think so, but economists aren't so easily convinced

Automation Can Actually Create More Jobs

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