Technology and Unemployment – How are they related?
Perhaps the hottest debate of this century is regarding how technology is allegedly killing jobs for the living and breathing people and slowly making way for the iron men and men of steel (robots, not superheroes).
Where it is true that some awesome robots (Vernie: the lego robot) and super-cool gadgets and apps (Siri, Alexa, and other virtual AI assistants) have been launched in the market that aid humans in their daily life; is it really possible that humans and the work they do can entirely be replaced by machinery and robots? And what about the enormous sea of job opportunities technology is bringing with it?
Should the common folk fear the invasion of robots and machines in addition to also worrying over the takeover by aliens? Or is it all simply a figment of the imagination of a few orthodox change-fearing individuals?
Consulting stats over this worrisome matter
Statistics never lie. Therefore, we will be looking over a few figures that deal with this issue to determine how much water we really are in.
Earlier this year, a study conducted by the accounting firm PwC showed the United States of America was the topmost country at risk of losing the most jobs as a result of technological advancement and automation. It states that four out of ten jobs in the US are at risk of being taken over by robots in the near future.
The report has predicted that the US will suffer job loss due to the takeover of robots by thirty-eight percent which is more than any other major country in the world. Germany stands at the second rank with a prediction of job loss by 35% in the coming 10-15 years.
The report also details about the loss of employment in the UK by 30% and in Japan by 21% and has predicted financial services jobs to be at the most risk of robot takeover (sixty-one percent).
According to a study conducted in May 2017 by Cornerstone Capital Group (a NY financial services firm), the same results were obtained, stating that 6 million jobs in the US were at risk of automation which totals up to a big figure of 16 million people at risk of being unemployed. Whoosh.
World Economic Forum has conducted a survey of about 350 major companies from fifteen of the most industrialized economies of the world that account for about 65% of the total labor force of the world and found out that 7.1 million jobs were at risk, worldwide, of being handed over to robots and machines.
However, the forum also stated that a creation of 2.1 million jobs could be made possible as a result of automation and tech revolution. This is a good sign. However, the number of jobs lost is not even countered partially by the number of new job opportunities predicted.
On the other hand, economists at Deloitte (consulting firm) have studied the employment census of the United Kingdom since the past 144 years and found that technology may be killing jobs in specific sectors but it is giving rise to many employment opportunities in other sectors. Where sectors like Agriculture have faced a lack of labor force employed, the productivity as a result of automation has increased.
At the same time, there has been a colossal increase in professions involving furnishing of services to others. This involves amplification in professions like assistants, home-based caregivers, youth and community workers, workers in housing and welfare. A shift involving 909% increase has been seen in auxiliary nurses, assistants, and caregivers.
Along with caregiving professions, the industries based on knowledge, like medicine and provision of education, have also had a boost in productivity and employment as a result of technological advancements.
Can this argument ever be concluded?
Concluding this debate is like drinking the salty water from the Red Sea. In other words: impossible. This argument has been blazing like a well-watered fire since the beginning of Industrial Revolution and will continue to do so till the technological world keeps advancing.
But it has to be said that where technology has been made to stand in the witness box as the perpetrator who has been killing jobs, you have to admit it has been bringing its own lot of (a variety, although not nearly enough) jobs.