retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Last week, MNB took note of a Washington Post report on a new poll from the Pew Research Center concluding that “in several countries around the world, large majorities of people believe it is most likely that robots will be doing much of the work done by humans within 50 years.” Greece sat atop the list - 91 percent of survey respondents there think that robots and computers “definitely” or “likely” will do much of the work done by people. In the US, the number was lower but still a majority - 65 percent.

Now comes a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) saying that while “machines will overtake humans in terms of performing more tasks at the workplace by 2025,” there still could be “58 million net new jobs created in the next five years” by this technological revolution.

That’s right - the WEF says that a lot more jobs will be created this revolution than will be displaced by it.

Here’s some of the context reported by CNBC:

“Developments in automation technologies and artificial intelligence could see 75 million jobs displaced, according to the WEF report ‘The Future of Jobs 2018.’ However, another 133 million new roles may emerge as companies shake up their division of labor between humans and machines, translating to 58 million net new jobs being created by 2022, it said.

“At the same time, there would be ‘significant shifts’ in the quality, location and format of new roles, according to the WEF report, which suggested that full-time, permanent employment may potentially fall.

“Some companies could choose to use temporary workers, freelancers and specialist contractors, while others may automate many of the tasks. New skill sets for employees will be needed as labor between machines and humans continue to evolve, the report pointed out.”
KC's View:
There may be new jobs with new parameters made available by the robot revolution, but it is up to people to make sure they are trained in the skills and expertise they need to qualify for those jobs. This is a matter of personal responsibility, but I think it also requires public investment and nuanced public policy decisions to make sure that these opportunities exist.