Executive Briefings

The March of Automation - the Transformation of the Work Force

Will a robot run my organization in 10 years? Maybe, even though a chief executive's job, which requires a fair amount of problem-solving and creativity, is probably less susceptible to automation than middle-skill jobs such as machining and bookkeeping. At the same time, new research shows that most jobs have some proportion of tasks that can be substituted by workplace automation. Including a CEO's job.

The March of Automation – the Transformation of the Work Force

Concerns about technology replacing workers isn't new. Over the past 200 years, mechanical looms replaced artisans, electric streetlights displaced lamplighters, cars replaced horses (thus limiting the need for blacksmiths) and personal computers diminished the need for typists. Technological advances have long taken a toll on specific professions and industries. They also raise our overall living standards.

The difference today is that digitization is dramatically reducing transaction costs and helping spread the changes farther and faster than before. Moreover, a new kind of automation - artificial intelligence - puts different kinds of jobs at risk than the mechanical automation of previous eras. Particularly affected are tasks that require cognitive skills, many of which are found in middle-skill jobs.

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Concerns about technology replacing workers isn't new. Over the past 200 years, mechanical looms replaced artisans, electric streetlights displaced lamplighters, cars replaced horses (thus limiting the need for blacksmiths) and personal computers diminished the need for typists. Technological advances have long taken a toll on specific professions and industries. They also raise our overall living standards.

The difference today is that digitization is dramatically reducing transaction costs and helping spread the changes farther and faster than before. Moreover, a new kind of automation - artificial intelligence - puts different kinds of jobs at risk than the mechanical automation of previous eras. Particularly affected are tasks that require cognitive skills, many of which are found in middle-skill jobs.

Read Full Article

The March of Automation – the Transformation of the Work Force