Are Robots Set To Destroy the Job Market?

It’s estimated that as many as 15 million jobs are considered to be at high or medium risk of being replaced by automation in the UK over the next two decades. This is the information relayed from the Institute for Public Policy Research in its recent report.  Matthew Lawrence is the author of the paper, and he believes that significant improvements in new technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), driverless cars, and machine learning will transform both our social and economic lives as we know it.

Lawrence estimates that around 2 million retail jobs and 600,000 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2030, with low-paid jobs being the most at risk. But it’s a fine line as to what a second machine age will bring, and one that needs to be carefully assessed before crossing. Advancements in AI and other technology could soon have us living in a rather cool “Star Trek” type environment, but it could also have us living in a more serious, political “Matrix” environment too.

But one thing is for certain in the report, and that is that automation and robotics will undoubtedly destroy numerous jobs across various industries. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has predicted there will be a *Fourth Industrial Revolution at the start of this year and by 2020, around 6 million jobs will have been lost to automation. “Human labor will become less important in the production process, and those who own robots will reap the rewards,” argues Lawrence.

In order to try and change alter this outcome, Lawrence says that automation needs to become “politicized,” with some form of an education system, a shorter working week, higher wage floors, and perhaps even some kind of universal base salary being introduced.  Some of these changes we’re talking about are already being implemented by companies across the nation including the US Department of Defense, Walmart, and Foxconn (the manufacturers of components for Google, Apple, and Amazon) as they begin to roll out their automated processes. And unfortunately for the worker, it does mean that job loss will soon follow.

*Fourth Industrial Revolution; Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing. Source: Wikipedia

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