Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) guarantee to lead in a new era of low-cost goods, effortless customization, and freedom from tedium. Yet beneath the surface of innovation, a present of economic disparity threatens to affect and change our society.
Lockheed Martin employs augmented reality in the development of its new Orion spacecraft. Engineers don the MS Hololens and see an overlay describing precisely which part from one of the hundreds should go where. Shelley Peterson, who is the Head of Emerging Technologies, revealed that the initial use cases result in over ninety percent reduction in touch labor, transforming what once took multiple techs many shifts into work that just one worker can do in a matter of hours. This example is just one among multitudes showing technological effectiveness. Efficiency enhancements, the use of robots made with high-performing cables and connectors, and shifts to lower-priced labor markets have to be embraced by countries that are looking for competitive advantages. But it is vital that they go hand in hand with systems that support displaced employees.
The automation of existing jobs has been a reality for generations. In the 20th century, the percentage of the labor force in agriculture declined from 40% in the early 1900s to just 10% in 1950. Now, that number is even lower – 2%. With more effective tools, machines, and a better perception of science, agriculture’s productivity has risen in the last, fewer people were required to do the same amount of work, and many agriculture jobs disappeared. Even more radical trends can be seen in other countries, like China, where a third of the country’s workforce moved out of agriculture from 1990 to 2015.
More than 2% of Americans – seven million people – lost their jobs in massive layoffs within 5 years (2004-2009). Employees that do not have a college degree are especially at higher risk. As production met automation and moved abroad, more people enjoyed more affordable products while large sectors of the labor force were left with a loss of income. Laid-off workers usually see a significant 17-30% reduction in salary when they come back to the workforce. If they don’t re-enter the job market in just a couple of months, resume callbacks fall significantly and several are left with no option but to join the gig market as contractors without benefits. They’re susceptible to experiencing from a menagerie of problems, from melancholy to marital difficulties. Their kids are even 15% more likely to repeat a grade in school.
What to do?
Companies should report prepared labor force changes to an international automation observatory. This would be ideal because it gives workers time to search for a new job before becoming unemployed and civil society/governments time enough to prepare for specific reskilling, tax revenue predicting, and recruitment of new companies. The European Union already tracks and maintain such data, and emphasized the value of a worldwide observatory that watches labor market changes because of automation. Without it, we don’t really know how automation is impacting and changing our society.
At least there`s one clear thing. Not planning and doing nothing is not an option. Complete industries have disappeared in the American economy. This will not stop but only increase in the years to come. Instead of fighting technology, we should embrace it and prepare workers whose fields are taken by robots or move abroad. People should get the opportunity to learn skills that will prepare them for the future.
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Jessica Cardona www.readytogocables.com
By Jessica Cardona|2021-01-07T21:57:30+00:00September 11th, 2020|Automation|Comments Off on Will automation lead to loss of jobs?