The path to automation requires robots to collaborate with people, rather than simply replacing them altogether. Majority of jobs will still need human intervention to some degree.
The risk of job automation is greatest in predictable, manual, and repetitive work environments and in industries with lower regulations.
The risk of automation is reduced in unstructured, dynamic, and unpredictable work environments and in industries involving high regulatory scrutiny.
U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, for instance, employed over 600 stock dealers at its peak. As a result of machine-learning algorithms capable of making complex transactions, these 600 traders are reduced to two. Instead, about one-third of its workforce is now employed as engineers.
But at exactly the same time, it’s creating thousands of new jobs for humans in its fulfillment centers.
We know that robots are bad at gripping, picking, and handling items in unstructured environments.
Risk of job automation is highest in predictable work environments and in industries with reduced regulations. This includes tasks or jobs that are repetitive and manual.
It’s now impacting over 10.5 million jobs in pubs, janitorial roles, and warehouses.
In hospitality, the ease of automation is high for repetitive and manual tasks like making coffee or preparing specific dishes. This is especially true in environments with highly organized menus and processes.
Many startups are working on electronic payment and tabletop-ordering applications to replace the tasks of cashiers and servers.
Experience automation and enhancement applications (EaaS) is quickly replacing entry-level white collar jobs in areas like law (e.g., automatic file analysis and auditing), media (e.g., AI-based news curation and summaries), and even software development.
The fantastic thing is that the danger of automation is lower in unstructured or unpredictable work environments. This includes industries involving high regulatory scrutiny.
In health care, dynamic decision making in unpredictable work environments makes these patient-facing jobs hard to automate, particularly when there is a high degree of emotional intelligence required.
Although trucking is at high risk of automation, this is unlikely to happen widely within the next decade as a result of regulatory challenges. While technology has the potential to reduce manual labour, it faces regulatory challenges as it still takes a human driver for non-highway driving.
The construction industry, as an example, is unstructured and dynamic. It requires human supervision.
Retraining and reskilling employees is going to be a recurring theme at the future of work. Future-proofing jobs will require constant re-skilling, re-learning, and obtaining updated skills and experience so that we could be always future-ready and job-ready and being safe from automation.