Report Suggests Nearly Half of U.S. Jobs Are Vulnerable to Computerization

Aviva Hope Rutkin MIT Technology Review
September 12, 2013

Oxford researchers say that 45 percent of America’s occupations will be automated within the next 20 years.

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report (which is not online, but summarized here) from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology attempts to quantify the extent of that threat. It concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage. Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

The authors note that the rate of computerization depends on several other factors, including regulation of new technology and access to cheap labor.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/519241/report-suggests-nearly-half-of-us-jobs-are-vulnerable-to-computerization/

 

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