Speed Reads

the robots are coming!

Oh yes, the robots are definitely coming for our jobs

A study from the McKinsey Global Institute claims that between 400 and 800 million people worldwide could have their jobs replaced by automation by the year 2030, Axios reported Wednesday. For American workers, the study predicts somewhere between 48 and 54 million people would have to change jobs, and more than 70 million employees could be displaced completely.

Advanced economies, like the United States and Germany, are likely to see employment declines in jobs that are done in what the study refers to as "predictable settings." Things like office support, customer interaction, assembly line production, driving, and even food prep jobs are likely to be on the chopping block. That may be a little terrifying, but demographic shifts and an aging world population are likely to actually create jobs in the health-care industry, and the tech industry is expected to continue creating medium- and high-skill jobs, as well.

The study offers a few suggestions to soften the blow, namely that we work toward embracing automation, growing middle class wages, and in some cases, implementing policies like universal basic income or other income supplements. But more than anything, the study encourages its readers to embrace their humanity, and emphasizes the unique advantage we have over machines:

While machines can be trained to perform a range of cognitive tasks, they remain limited. They are not yet good at putting knowledge into context, let alone improvising, and they have little of the common sense that is the essence of human experience and emotion. They struggle to operate without a pre-defined methodology. They can replicate fugues in the style of Bach, but cannot yet understand sarcasm or love. [McKinsey Global Institute]

Read the entire dizzying report at the McKinsey Global Institute.