Are robots taking over jobs in the U.S?

Are robots taking over jobs in the U.S?

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Robots aren’t going to replace everyone, but an important fraction of U.S. jobs will be critically disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of existing work, by a new Brookings Institution report.

Approximately 36 million Americans have jobs with “high vulnerability” to automation — This means that at least 70 percent of their responsibilities could soon be completed by machines using current technology. Among those most likely to be affected are cooks, waiters, and others in food services; short-haul truck drivers; and clerical office workers. Many people will need to upskill, reskill, or change jobs fast.

Those changes could take place in a few years or a couple of decades. But automation will probably happen more quickly during the next economic downturn. Companies are usually keen to implement cost-cutting technologies as they lay off employees.

Even though the United States is in the middle of its second-longest growth in history, and job data suggest that the economy continues healthy, many company leaders and economists have advised in surveys that the USA could slip into an economic recession in the coming years.

Are robots taking over jobs in the U.S?

Some economic researches have found that similar changes towards automating production occurred in the early part of previous economic slowdowns — and may have contributed to the “jobless recovery” that followed the 2008 economic recession.

But with innovative advancements in artificial intelligence, it’s not just mechanical and warehouse robots that will change the American workforce. Self-checkout kiosks and automated hotel concierges will do their part.

Most jobs will change as machines take over routine duties, but the more significant part of the Unites States workers will be able to adapt to that shift without being displaced. Some chain restaurants have already turned to self-ordering machines; a few have tried with robot-assisted kitchens.

Big companies like Google are also taking stats towards automation; earlier this year, Google introduced the use of its first digital voice assistant at hotel halls to translate conversations across a few dozen languages immediately. Self-driving vehicles could replace short-haul delivery drivers soon. Walmart and other big retailers are planning to open cashier-less stores operated by in-store sensors or cameras with facial identification technology.

The changes will have the most substantial effect in smaller cities, particularly those in the heartland and the Rust Belt. The risk is highest in the states of Kentucky and Indiana, where some counties have approximately half the labor force employed in the labor-intensive production and transportation industries. The changes will also disproportionately affect the younger workers who dominate food services and other sectors at the highest risk for automation.

Many experts agree that automation has an overall positive effect on the labor market, It can generate economic growth, reduce prices, and boost demand while also creating new jobs that make up for those that disappear.

But there’s no doubt there are winners and losers. In the past, those more affected were men with low levels of education who managed construction and manufacturing jobs, and women with intermediate levels of education who managed administrative jobs. In the future, the class of workers hit by automation could increase as machines become more intelligent.

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Jessica Cardona


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