There is one thing that sizeable workforce is scared of and that is automation is going to take over the tasks from them in future. And, that can be true because research from McKinsey Global Institute says that about half of the activities that people do will be automated when the existing technologies are adapted. People will have to work with machines to produce the results that everyone aspires. Automation is indeed happening and it will definitely be beneficial to businesses and individuals around the world. However, this is not going to happen immediately. The report finds that people and technology should work together to realize technology’s full potential.
These findings are from the McKinsey research team after analyzing over 2000 work jobs across 800 occupations. AI and automation will not be limited to any particular occupation. The occupations that these technologies will affect range from gardeners to clerks, lab technicians, fashion designers, etc. These jobs will be automated depending on the amount and type of work involved. But the report said, in 60 percent of occupations, 30 percent activities might be automated.
The areas that are prone to automation and machines include repeated activities in a predictable environment. We can see these types of work in manufacturing, retail trade, accommodation, etc. People involved in decision-making, working directly with people, creative work, etc. are less prone to automation. The report noted that most of the occupations will change rather than completely getting automated.
However, the report noted that automation and AI are beneficial for businesses and economies. The automation of certain activities at companies can allow businesses to improve their performance. This can be possible by reducing man-made errors and increasing speed and quality of work. In some cases, the companies can also achieve those outcomes, which are beyond the capabilities of a human. Automation, AI and robotics would also help in giving a boost to production and overall economic growth at a time when there is a global slowdown. The research arm of McKinsey estimates that automation would raise productivity growth by 0.8 percent to 1.4 percent annually.
Automation is not going to happen overnight. McKinsey estimates that although there is potential, it will take a few years for automation to affect current activities. The speed of automation and its effects on workers will differ across different occupations, skill levels, activities and wages. The scenario suggests that half of the activities in businesses can be automated by 2055, maybe 20 years up or down, depending on many factors.
The debate on automation is all about unemployment but the workforce will need to work with machines to innovate and work for the growth of the economy. Even the policymakers will have to rethink and develops schemes that help the population cope up with the change in the future of work. Many companies have already incorporated AI and some are finding ways to embrace AI and automation to meet their business objectives. As the businesses continue to use AI and automation for most of the activities, the workforce will have to learn the necessary skills to be effective and efficient in their new roles.