Will automation lead to loss of jobs?

Every company, be it a tech or non-tech company has taken up the path of automating its services. According to a report, it was found that the introduction of automation will lead to the elimination of around 6 per cent of all jobs in the states as early as next year. There are various reports that predict that by 2030, there can be around 800 million jobs taken over by automation.

It is very clearly not a mystery that we are currently living in the third industrial revolution and, as any previous one; there will be people who will be affected more as compared to others. Some people will lose their jobs while some will not be very affected, mostly due to the nature of their job. That technological change can cause short-term job losses is widely accepted in the job corner now. The view that it can lead to lasting increases in unemployment has long been controversial with many supporting and many against the argument. 
So, will automation take over our jobs?

The answer is- maybe.
Apparently, not every country will be equally affected. The changes won’t hit everyone equally. As per reports, only about 10 per cent of the existing occupations stands to be completely automated if today’s cutting-edge technology is widely adopted in use, while in less than around 70 per cent of jobs, one-third of activities will be automated, i.e. it will be semi-automated.
 There are many types of automation available in the market. And not everything is the same. There are a few types such as: 

1.    Industrial Automation (IA)

This is the most used automation commonly found in the industry. There are various uses for robots and other automated machines in industrial settings of manufacturing and production. 3D printing, vehicle production, electronic goods production are the most beneficial sectors of this automation. This sector has seen the most job losses due to automation in recent years.

2.    AI and other technological automation

This involves a company to transfer its basic non-manufacturing processes to automated process and seek ways to improve efficiency by reducing human labour. There are vast software and services available out there that are used in accounts, management, feedbacks and other such sectors, but without people.
These are some of the most commonly used automation techniques in the market. The jobs in the manufacturing, production industry, and agriculture, as well as various smaller low-level service sector roles, are the most automatable and these are the sectors which require the most human labour. As a result, the automation of these sectors is leading to unemployment among the people in recent times. 

But the sectors outside of manufacturing, low-level administrative functions will most likely decline in the short term. The jobs in data entry, analysis, office support occupations, and customer care and reception are some of the sectors which will not observe any significant levels of automation or any such loss of work for humans.


Will automation lead to loss of human employment?

Yes. However, as mentioned before- not all countries will be hit by this equally.
The effects of automation on work will vary differently in most countries. Highly developed economies like the US and the European countries and Asian countries of Japan and China are likely to be hit hardest by the coming changes, as higher average wages incentivizes automation.

In the United States, through automation in specific sectors will lead to loss of automation, there will be an increase in employment in industries like health care where not much automation can happen. Again, rote jobs that involve physical labour like industrial workers, clerks, cleaners, etc stand most at risk of automation. 

Another disadvantage of automation is that automation is also likely to lead to increased inequality among citizens. High-paying creative and cognitive jobs will be at a premium, while the demand for middle and low-skill occupations will decline and will become almost zero if there is too much automation involved.

Why automation and not human skills?

The reason is that automated robotics and machine learning have improved productivity in all sectors and enhanced the economies of many nations by leaps and bounds. Also, the advancement of Artificial intelligence (AI) has led to its increased uses in the fields of finance, transportation, defence, and energy management, software services and many more. 

In all of this, there is a possibility of a new automated era that could improve the lives of many people without needing any such workforce, leading to the job being done without much investment. Automated robots and new tech need initial investment and once done, don’t need repeated investment cost like paying an employee. A small benefit of automation is that the new technologies of today's time have enabled people to be very productive while working part-time. As automation enables businesses to cut down the large numbers of employees, the working individuals can devote most of their waking hours to hobbies, volunteering, or pursuing skill development. 

So, what's the future of this automation?

There must be initiatives set up by countries which could help offset the disruption caused by automation. Some of these are being pursued while others remain at the conceptual stage as policymakers and investors work out how to deliver outcomes. Also, no doubt that there will be job losses, new jobs will be created; existing roles will be redefined, and workers will have the opportunity to switch careers. The income inequality is likely to grow; the unskilled have a higher chance of being unemployed. At the same time, this automation must be dealt with properly by the industries, and proper law formulation must be done to ensure that the job losses get reimbursed and the technology remains beneficial for all.

- Sonal Bera

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Will automation lead to loss of jobs? Will automation lead to loss of jobs? Reviewed by EMN on May 29, 2019 Rating: 5

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