March 24, 2014
Nearly Half Of All US Jobs Are Threatened By Robotics
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
According to a study by University of Oxford researchers, nearly half of all US jobs could be lost to robots in the future.
Researchers studying over 702 detailed occupation types to find how susceptible jobs are to computerization found that jobs in transportation, logistics and administrative support are at “high risk” of automation. The findings also revealed that even occupations in the service industry were highly susceptible to losing their positions to robotics.
“We identified several key bottlenecks currently preventing occupations being automated,” Dr Michael A. Osborne, from the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, said in a statement. “As big data helps to overcome these obstacles, a great number of jobs will be put at risk.”
According to the findings, about 47 percent of US employees are at risk from losing their jobs to computerization in the future. They also said they found evidence that wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relationship with an occupation’s probability of computerization.
“We note that this finding implies a discontinuity between the nineteenth, twentieth and the twenty-first century, in the impact of capital deepening on the relative demand for skilled labour,” the authors wrote.
They said that while nineteenth century manufacturing technologies largely substituted for skilled labor through the simplification of tasks, the Computer Revolution of the twentieth century threatened middle-income jobs.
The researchers said that this was the first study to look at how technological progress is going to change the future of employment.
“Although there are indeed existing useful frameworks for examining the impact of computers on the occupational employment composition, they seem inadequate in explaining the impact of technological trends going beyond the computerization of routine tasks,” the team wrote.
Scientists are continuing to advance the robotics industry by adding new senses and dexterity to technology, allowing them to be more useful in performing manual labor. Moreover, scientists are creating algorithms for big data, which opens the door for computerization in a variety of industries.
“Our model predicts a truncation in the current trend towards labour market polarization, with computerization being principally confined to low-skill and low-wage occupations,” the team wrote. “Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerization – i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.”