Automation and Workers of the Future

By | February 4, 2019

Automation won’t be replacing the entire workforce but about one-quarter of U.S. jobs could be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence (AI) takes hold in the near future.

According to a new Brookings Institution report, roughly 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high exposure” to automation – meaning at least 70 percent of their tasks could soon be performed by machines using current technology.

Almost no occupation will be unaffected by technological change in the AI era. Some of the most vulnerable jobs are those in office administration, production, transportation, and food preparation. Such jobs are deemed to face “high risk” with over 70 percent of their tasks potentially capable of being automated. All of these either involve routine, physical labor or information collection and processing activities.

Almost no occupation will be unaffected by technological change in the artificial intelligence era.

The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program examined data focused on a mix of industries, geographies and demographic groups across the United States. The report, Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places, offers projections for how automation and artificial intelligence will impact the American economy over the next few decades.

Key Findings

Demographic variation: Young people, men, and underrepresented groups, particularly Hispanics and blacks, will face pronounced difficulties as a result of automation’s disruptions– an under-explored viewpoint in current coverage of automation.

Geographic unevenness: Some places will do much better than others in dealing with the coming transitions. Places such as Las Vegas, Louisville, Ky., and Toledo, Ohio are among the most susceptible to the automation of job tasks, while the list of least susceptible places includes coastal giants such as Washington, D.C., the Bay Area, New York City, and Boston.

Varying levels of occupational susceptibility: By 2030, some 25 percent of U.S. employment will have experienced high exposure to automation, while another 36 percent of U.S. employment will experience medium exposure, and another 39 percent will experience low exposure.

Education helps combat automation: Occupations not requiring a bachelor’s degree are 229 percent more susceptible to automation compared to occupations requiring at least a bachelor’s degree. Just 6 percent of workers with a four-year degree or more are in jobs with a high potential for automation.

About Andrea Wells

Andrea Wells is a veteran insurance editor and Editor-in-Chef of Insurance Journal Magazine. More from Andrea Wells

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Insurance Journal West February 4, 2019
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