Robots are becoming more commonplace in our daily lives, from manufacturing the vehicles we drive, to vacuuming our floors, and delivering our room service. And, pretty soon, they may be stealing your job. A new report from McKinsey estimates that up to 800 million jobs will be replaced by robots by 2030. And, with figures from the UN estimating the world population at 8.5 billion by that time, approximately 10% of jobs previously held by humans will be held by machines.
The worst of this economic shift will be felt in wealthier nations like the US, Japan, and South Korea, simply because they have the capital to invest in robotic technology. Plus, they have the markets that demand quick acces to goods, affordably, and strong export infrastructure. Over the long run, robotic technology provides the volume and cost savings that consumers demand. Poorer countries will of course not be subject to as intense of a robotic shift because their financial needs are elsewhere.
It has been assumed that robotic technology will only touch blue collar, low paid jobs but research is now finding applications for them in law, among other professional industries with repetive tasks and data. At the most risk? Restaurant dish washers and clerical workers. The report also suggests other occupations at risk:
- Machine and building equipment operators
- Food preparation workers
However, the robot's influence won't be felt everywhere - health workers, computer engineers, construction workers, and schoolteachers cannot be replaced and can breathe a sigh of relief (for now). But what about those who are handed a robotic pink slip? There will still be plenty of jobs, and the report even suggests that Japan will have an urgent need for caretakers for its aging population that workers can transition to.
This report was based on a November 30, 2017 Business Insider article by Shona Ghosh.