Are Robots Trying to Take Your Job? McKinsey Thinks So.
McKinsey & Company estimates that automation could take over as many as half of the roles performed by humans around the world. Who will be safe when the robots come knocking?
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Automation is making it easier than ever to perform tasks more precisely and efficiently than any human could hope to achieve. This is good news for business, but worrying for the workers who could one day lose their jobs to a robot or smart algorithm.
A report released by McKinsey & Company estimated that automation could take over as many as half of the roles performed by humans around the world. However, while there are excellent cases for automation across almost every industry, some sectors and job roles could never be automated and will never become obsolete. These are the jobs that require the highest levels of creativity and adaptability that can only come from the human mind. These are the jobs the robots will never steal.
For those of us in graphic design, writing and other creative roles, the future is quite safe for now. Computers may be superior at analyzing data and even reproducing artwork, but it is the right side of the human brain that generates the most creative and beautiful work of all. Until computers prove themselves useful in more imaginative and creative pursuits, creative types can breathe a sigh of relief.
Would you really entrust a computer or robot to defend you in a court of law? The sheer complexity of criminal and civil law cases are no match for even the smartest computer, and it is hard to imagine this scenario becoming reality any time soon.
Computers may become more and more human-like in appearance, but they will never possess the same compassion and empathy present in the human psyche. People undergoing hard times in their lives, whether it is substance abuse, domestic violence or marriage problems, need the right support and advice. While a computer can spit out pre-programmed advice based on a known problem, it simply cannot provide the comfort of a human social worker or counselor.
Technology has certainly had a huge impact on the education sector. Long distance learning, online courses and even educational mobile apps all vie for attention in the grey matter marketplace. However, where computers are good at delivering information, they cannot match the ability of teachers to inspire, encourage or motivate. Teachers build rapport with their students, and they focus on the strengths and weaknesses in both the mind and spirit. How many of us would really be able to recall with fondness the computer that taught us in sixth grade?
If the robots look after us, who looks after the robots? No matter how much of an impact automation has on everyday life, there will always be somebody at the controls, or at least monitoring the processes that drive that automation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 21 percent increase in the number of automation experts and computer analysts by the year 2024.
A fully automated future may be a long way off, but it is certainly approaching faster than we could ever have anticipated. In just a few decades from now the way we live our lives will look vastly different. However, there will always be a handful of jobs and industries that remain virtually untouched by the rise of the robots. For those in a field that focuses on creativity, compassion, influence or deep knowledge, the future looks bright.
Avi Savar is CEO and Managing Partner of Dreamit, a top venture accelerator and early stage investment fund. He is the author of Content to Commerce and consults globally on trends in digital media, disruptive technologies and corporate innovation. He has been featured on Fox News, Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, the New York Times and is a contributing editor for Inc.