Future Shock: 10 Million Jobs Lost to AI & Robots by 2020

By: | January 19th, 2017

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Jobs Lost to Robots Seemingly Rising Exponentially

It doesn’t seem to matter where you live: the robots are coming. It’s a perfect storm of 3D printing, AI robots, machine learning, and nanotechnology which are all technologies that can be automated.

A report out of India estimates automation will reduce its service industry workforce by nearly 500,000 people or 14% by 2021. The robot apocalypse is being painted as a huge transformation of the world economy in which capable and intelligent robots threaten millions of jobs. Some, such as Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, estimate job losses at 5 million by 2020 to as many as 10 million over the next five years.

Outsourcing Unemployment vs. Technological Unemployment

US President-Elect Donald Trump’s promise to the US to “bring back the jobs” to the US middle-class is likely to run into a strong headwind from trends toward automation and robotics. The problem Trump railed against in his presidential campaign was the outsourcing of jobs to cheaper wage earners around the world. But what we face now is another gambit by the wealthy and fortunate to keep the dollars rolling in; the only way this is possible is through automated technology which will radically reduce expenses of employment. The new term for this type of unemployment is “technological unemployment.”

In the United States, estimates are that 6% of US jobs will be gone by 2021 to robots and that the chances of losing a job to a robot is 50% over the next 20 years. According to Equipment World which reports on the construction equipment industry, 500,000 construction jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence and robots by 2020.

The following video explains that recently, US manufacturing jobs are being lost to robots, not to outsourcing as Trump has claimed. Manufacturing operations, coming back to the US from overseas because of the US comparative advantage in energy pricing, will be done by automated machines and robots. The best US workers can hope for is to be “robot babysitters.”

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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