Aside from staying alive and wholesome, the most important concern most individuals have through the pandemic is the way forward for their jobs. Unemployment within the U.S. has skyrocketed, from 5.8 million in February 2020 to 16.3 million in July 2020, in accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it’s not solely the misplaced jobs which are reshaping work within the wake of COVID-19; the nature of most of the remaining jobs has modified, as distant work turns into the norm. And within the midst of all of it, automation has change into probably a risk to some staff and a salvation to others.
In our upcoming special issue, titled “Automation and jobs in the new normal,” we study this rigidity and discover the great, dangerous, and unknown of how automation may have an effect on jobs within the instant and close to future.
Prevailing knowledge says that the wave of latest AI-powered automation will observe the identical sample as different technological leaps: They’ll kill off some jobs however create new (and probably higher) ones. But it’s unclear whether or not that may maintain true this time round. Complicating issues is that at a time when office security has to do with limiting the unfold of a lethal virus, automation can play a task in lowering the variety of people who find themselves working shoulder-to-shoulder — holding staff protected, but additionally eliminating jobs.
We’ll have a look at the kinds of jobs that automation might create, which of them it may remove, and the way it might reshape sure fields. The transport trade is just not a area that many individuals consider as ripe for automation, however it’s one the place autonomous ships and distant pilots may develop in significance. Another seemingly unlikely goal is the meatpacking trade, which seems to be a hotbed of COVID-19 unfold and may want automation each to maintain staff protected and to maintain the enterprise operational. Meanwhile, as thousands and thousands of staff abandon their workplace buildings and start to make money working from home, there’s a rising risk of teleoperators who can remotely help all method of “autonomous” machines or robots, from easy upkeep to taking handbook management when the necessity arises.
Even as automation creates thrilling new alternatives, it’s essential to keep in mind that these alternatives won’t be distributed equally. Some jobs are extra weak to automation than others, and uneven entry to reskilling and different essential elements will imply that some staff might be left behind.
The wave of robotics and automation was already coming, thanks partially to developments in AI applied sciences like pc imaginative and prescient and machine studying. But the pandemic accelerated the necessity for a few of these new applied sciences — and in addition sophisticated issues by creating excessive unemployment, radically altered workplaces, and the necessity for extra automation-based security measures at work.
The new regular has but to reach — we’re in a form of horrible “abnormal” limbo — however when the pandemic subsides, automation could have performed a big function in reshaping work world wide.
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