Will Robots Make Our Jobs Obsolete?

By Catherine
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By Catherine Bolgar

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Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are taking over jobs that are repetitive, predictable and sometimes dangerous for people to do. The impact of automation on society depends on how fast it occurs—and how quickly displaced workers transition to other forms of employment.

“What most people don’t realize is the labor market has always evolved over time. Recent advances in artificial intelligence have the potential to accelerate the rate of change,” says Jerry Kaplan, futurist and author of the book “Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

“There will be plenty of work,” he adds. “Many jobs cannot be automated with new technology. As we become wealthier, the demand for jobs increases as people spend more money.”

A 2013 study estimates that computerization puts 47% of total U.S. employment at risk. A survey by the World Economic Forum earlier this year estimates that automation will cause a net loss of more than five million jobs globally between 2015 and 2020, out of the 13.5 million the surveyed companies currently employ. A canvassing of experts by the Pew Research Center found that about 48% expect significant displacement of workers from automation by 2025, with the other 52% expecting that technology creates more jobs than it displaces.

“My view is that there is ultimately going to be less work,” says Martin Ford, futurist and author of the book “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future.”

A lot of jobs—maybe half the jobs out there—are doing things that are predictable,“ Ford adds. “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or even the skill level.”

A radiologist must go through years of extensive schooling, but mostly does routine work that increasingly is being aided by computers, he says. Software can generate news stories and can translate spoken language in real time.

Machines are taking on cognitive capability,” he says. “Machine learning can figure things out. It’s really disruptive. Especially deep learning. It’s just amazing.”

CyborgHowever, many of the jobs ripe for automation are low-skilled jobs, from driving to coffee-making to burger-flipping, Mr. Ford says, perhaps not entirely replacing them but greatly reducing their number.

“Technology will create jobs, but will the person driving a taxi be able to do that job? In many cases, the answer will be no,” he says.

Retraining programs and geographic mobility will be key to helping people whose work has become obsolete to change professions, Mr. Kaplan says, adding, “We need to align our social policies with the economic realities.”

These changes have happened before. Forty or 50 years ago, more than a million people, mostly women, worked as telephone operators; today, that occupation employs less than one-twentieth of that number. “Do we lament the loss of those jobs?” Mr. Kaplan asks.

New jobs will arise as we create new wants and needs that we can’t even imagine now, Mr. Kaplan says.

“Historically, average U.S. household income doubles every 40 years, but our desires and expectations for our standard of living rise at the same rate,” he says. “If you wanted to live like somebody in 1900 you could probably be fine working 15 hours a week. Today most people would like to have a TV and indoor plumbing, so we work longer and harder to increase our standard of living. It’s more about our expectations and desires than some hard-and-fast rule of economics.”

Robot human hand connectionThe World Economic Forum’s survey of employers found the greatest expectation for demand in computer and mathematical jobs, with a 3.21% compound annual growth rate from 2015 to 2020, followed by architecture and engineering, with 2.71% expected growth. Office and administrative jobs, however, are expected to contract 4.91%, worse than the 1.63% decline in manufacturing and production employment, among respondents. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looks by country at the percentage of jobs with high potential for automation or significant change in tasks.

Automation is here to stay. “It’s integral to capitalism,” Mr. Ford says. “There’s this huge incentive to become more efficient. If your competitors do it, you do the same thing or you’re quickly going to be irrelevant. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the biggest things happening right now, and pretty soon all companies will have to incorporate them.”

 

Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, now working as a freelance writer and editor with WSJ. Custom Studios in EMEA. For more from Catherine Bolgar, along with other industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.

Photos courtesy of iStock

How Will Automation Change the Job Market?

By Alyssa
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Since the 1970s, automation has eliminated the jobs of millions of bank tellers, retail cashiers, travel agents, airline front-desk workers and manufacturing employees.  As automation becomes more widespread across our world, more jobs such as truck drivers, airline pilots and even medical doctors are now at risk.

Business-FutureofWorkSince the Industrial Revolution began replacing workers with machines in the late 18th century, technology has been changing the nature of work. For every painful job loss, however, the economy generally created one or more new jobs in more advanced industries. Displaced workers had to retrain for the new jobs, but jobs still existed for those willing to learn new skills.

But with today’s cutting-edge technologies – artificial intelligence, robots, automated big data analysis, the Internet of Things, nanotechnology and 3D printing, among others – many experts believe the world is at an important inflection point that may change work so dramatically it will become virtually unrecognizable.

How many jobs are we poised to lose?  Is your job function at risk? What will be the impact on society?  To discover more, “The Future of Work” in the new issue of Dassault Systèmes Compass magazine.

 

Investing in Western Europe Countries Industry is Still Worth It

By Diana
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When we think about production facilities, Western Europe is not what comes to mind first…

Over the past few decades the weight of the industry in the old continent, which gave birth to the 1st Industrial Revolution only decades ago, has significantly declined …

Expensive manpower, ageing factories and machines, less support from governments and an expanding service sector are all causes of what is known as deindustrialization.

Recently, however, the same countries that once quit the shop floor, are now coming back to shape the face of the industry. Greasy mono task machines are now replaced by digital and connected lines that offer unlimited possibilities and bring competitiveness back to European companies

European governments are highly supporting the development of a new industry with programs like the Industry 4.0 in Germany or the 34 industrial plans for the new French Industry, and the dynamic also involves companies, associations and lobbies. All these stakeholders have a common goal, which is to lead the 4th Industrial Revolution that relies on Social, Smart, Flexible and Service capabilities.

As a result, successful initiatives are rising and rewarded. One example is Bilsing Automation, a French automotive supplier that develops and produces flexible tooling and handling systems for press shop and body shop applications.

PRODUCTIVEZThe company received the PRODUCTIVEZ Label 2014 during a ceremony organized by the SYMOP (a French association for production machines and technologies) to reward its productive investment in innovative technology and its resulting benefits.

With the support of Keonys, its strategic technological partner, Bilsing Automation adopted Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform to gain in productivity.
Keonys, leader en solutions PLM, partenaire de Dasasult Systèmes

As a result the company increased its turnover by 63% and is now doubling its 3D engineering teams every year.

“Keonys’ objective is to be the partner of choice for PLM and 3D solutions to enable companies from all sectors to maximize their productivity. We accompanied Bilsing Automation in their innovation process to accelerate the transformation of their economic model. Thanks to our professional approach to defining and managing consulting projects, we quickly identified where we could improve both manufactured product quality and collaboration in their subsidiaries around the world,” explains Isabelle Yung-Lafargue, President, Keonys.

Investing and creating jobs in the industry while increasing one’s production processes in Western European countries is now more possible than ever, especially when you have the right partner and the right solutions.

Discover more customer references of companies that benefit from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and Keonys’ support and that are leading the 4th Industrial Revolution.