This article is published in collaboration with Futurism.
AI is beginning to phase out traditional jobs. Image: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
According to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, nearly half of all the work we do will be able to be automated by the year 2055. However, a variety of factors, including politics and public sentiment toward the technology, could push that back by as many as 20 years. An author of the report, Michael Chui, stressed that this doesn’t mean we will be inundated with mass unemployment over the next decades. “What we ought to be doing is trying to solve the problem of ‘mass redeployment,’” Chui tells Public Radio International (PRI). “How can we continue to have people working alongside the machines as we go forward?”
The report suggests that the move toward automation will also bring with it a global boost in productivity: “Based on our scenario modeling, we estimate automation could raise productivity growth globally by 0.8 to 1.4 percent annually.” Removing the capacity for human error and dips in speed due to illness, fatigue, or general malaise can help boost productivity in any task capable of being automated.
Many of the discussions on automation surround how it will impact manual labor. However, while it’s easy to see how robotics can take over precise and repetitive manufacturing tasks, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is allowing for more cognition-based tasks to be taken over by computers as well. Chui stated, “In about 60 percent of occupations, over 30 percent of the things that people do could be automated — either using robots or artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, all of these technologies that we’re hearing more and more about.”
What about workers?
Chui believes that mass redeployment is how the workforce will endure the job loss. The report cites the shift from agriculture to industry as another point in history during which mass redeployment occurred. For example, over the course of the 20th century and into today, the United States has moved from having 40 percent of the workforce in agriculture to only less than two percent. “We don’t have 30 percent unemployment because, in fact, we found new things for people to do in the economy,” Chui says. “So we have … historically been able to do that.”
However, the switch from automation isn’t as clear-cut as one from agriculture to industry. The industrial revolution created new roles for masses of people along with machines having a bigger part to play in farming. Automation may create some new roles for some highly skilled workers, but others, especially low-skill workers, will be left without any inherent positions. This is why some experts are heralding universal basic income (UBI) as the only way to ensure the livelihoods of displaced workers.
During his administration, President Obama saw that automation and UBI would begin to enter into our political debates. We are in the infancy of these ideas, but serious conversations need to start if we want to be ready to preemptively tackle these issues before we’re forced to by circumstance.
The boom looks like it’s back. The number of oil and gas rigs drilling in the U.S. has almost doubled since bottoming out at the lowest level in more than 75 years of records. The animation below shows the collapse of America’s energy boom beginning in 2015—and its subsequent resurrection beginning last May.
While two dozen nations are coordinating to cut oil production and rein in the global supply glut, U.S. producers are moving in the opposite direction. Over the last four months, output increased by half a million barrels a day. If that rate of expansion continues, the shale boom will break new production records by summer.
This decade saw the fastest expansion of oil and gas production in American history. New technology drove the boom—particularly deployment of horizontal drilling through shale rock. Major shale regions include the Permian and Eagle Ford basins in Texas, the Scoop and Stack plays in Oklahoma and the Bakken formation in North Dakota.
After the global plunge in oil prices began in late 2014, producers began shutting drilling operations at an unprecedented rate. The number of active oil and gas rigs plummeted 80 percent to the fewest since Baker Hughes started tracking them in 1940.
The industry that’s returned has been transformed. It employs fewer workers per rig and is even more tightly focused on the rich shale formations that drove America’s oil and gas boom before the crash. Almost 90 percent of the rigs added during the rebound have been of the horizontal variety.
Raw rig counts are losing their predictive power. The drilling industry is increasingly automated, and wells are pumping oil faster. Gone are the abundant high-paying jobs in pop-up oil towns filled with roughnecks. The U.S. now produces 9 million barrels a day; when the shale boom first crossed that threshold in 2014, more than twice as many rigs were actively drilling.
Sources: Data compiled by Bloomberg, EIA, Baker Hughes
DENVER (AP) — Anheuser-Busch says it has completed the world’s first commercial shipment by self-driving truck, sending a beer-filled tractor-trailer on a journey of more than 120 miles through Colorado.
The company says it teamed with self-driving truck maker, Otto, and the state of Colorado for the feat. The trailer, loaded with Budweiser beer, began the self-driving trip at a weigh station in Fort Collins, Colorado, and ran along Interstate 25 through Denver before wrapping up in Colorado Springs. (more…)
A recent test run of startup Starship Technologies’ autonomous robot shows what may be the future of on-demand delivery. The London- and Estonia-based company developed a fleet of delivery bots that aim to crack the last-mile challenge, or make the last leg of a delivery.
The startup has already begun testing in Europe, encountering more than a millionpedestrians, and plans to start tests in the Bay Area in the next couple of months. (more…)
Walmart Is Being Sued for Allegedly Bribing the Mexican Government
To open new stores.
Walmart must face a class-action lawsuit accusing the world’s largest retailer of defrauding shareholders by concealing suspected bribery to help it expand faster in Mexico, a U.S. judge said.
In a decision on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in Fayetteville, Arkansas rejected Walmart’s contention that a Michigan pension fund had no standing to lead the case because it had not suffered losses on the retailer’s stock.
Do-it-yourself home improvement? More like make it yourself. Lowe’s new 3D-printing stations at a New York City store mark the chain’s bid to unlock the profit potential of products that reflect a shopper’s distinct imprint and tastes.
Dubbed Bespoke Designs, the 3D-scanning and printing service — with products designed exclusively for Lowe’sLOW -3.18%by 3DShook, and in partnership with Voodoo Manufacturing — now being piloted in the Lowe’s store in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood enables shoppers to design and produce customized products, from lamps to doorknobs, and hard-to-find replacement parts to “make your home uniquely yours,” the retailer says. (more…)
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