It's no secret that the world of work is set to change irreversibly as more industries start to implement automation and artificial intelligence. A new study published by the World Economic Forum finds that women are set to be hit the hardest. In the United States, 1.4 million jobs will be vulnerable to disruption by 2026 due to technology and other factors. The report analyzed some 1,000 types of jobs throughout the country, covering 96 percent of total employment. It showed that 57 percent of those whose jobs are at risk are women.
Science-fiction thrillers, like the 1980s classic film The Terminator, illuminate our imaginations, but they also stoke fears about autonomous, intelligent killer robots eradicating the human race. And while this scenario might seem far-fetched, last year, over 100 robotics and artificial intelligence technology leaders, including Elon Musk and Google's DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, issued a warning about the risks posed by super-intelligent machines. In an open letter to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the signatories said that once developed, killer robots -- weapons designed to operate autonomously on the battlefield -- "will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend." The letter states: "These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act.
Significant technological advances have reshaped society as we know it. But the World Economic Forum (WEF) warned that while this is pushing us into "the fourth industrial revolution" and is transforming the labour markets beyond all recognition from decades ago, it will lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020. These countries include Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. WEF said in its report, entitled "The Future of Jobs," which was published on Monday, that while skills and jobs displacement will affect every industry and geographical region, these job losses can be offset by employment growth in other areas. WEF estimated that 7.1 million jobs could be lost through redundancy, automation, or disintermediation, while the creation of 2.1 million new jobs, mainly in more specialised areas such as computing, math, architecture, and engineering, could partially offset some of the losses.
Do you want the good news, or the bad news? Let's start with the bad. The World Economic Forum's (WEF) Future of Jobs study predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers. The report says this very same technology will create 2.1 million jobs. But very different jobs from the 5 million to be lost.