[리서치페이퍼=Fabian Rivera 기자]
Futurists and economists have warned in recent years that increasing rates of automation will eventually displace many workers from their jobs.
Such a dynamic changed the auto industry forever when robots replaced thousands of workers on the assembly lines.
A recent report by research firm McKinsey Global Institute suggests that while robots may eventually replace you at work, the pace of replacement may be slower than previously forecast.McKinsey found that the expansion of robots’ abilities is only one of the factors that lead companies to replace workers.
Yes, much of the work currently done by flesh-and-blood employees can and someday will likely be automated.But economic issues, labor markets, government and industry regulations, and social attitudes tend to slow the rush to replace human workers with robots.
The McKinsey report identifies 800 jobs and 2,000 activities.Most jobs, researchers say, have at least some potential for automation.But in the near future, technology will transform jobs, not eliminate them.
McKinsey researchers calculated that worldwide, about 49 percent of people’s work time is devoted to activities that could be automated with technology that is currently available.That adds up to $15.8 trillion in annual wages, the equivalent of 1.1 billion full-time workers.But the report says that only about 5 percent of jobs can be fully automated.
Substantial replacement of workers with robots “is going to take decades,” said James Manyika, one of the report’s authors. “How automation affects employment will not be decided simply by what is technically feasible, which is what technologists tend to focus on.”
For example, self-driving technology could replace America’s truck drivers with high-tech solutions.And maybe someday it will.But replacing the current fleet with new trucks would require an investment of more than $1 trillion.It simply isn’t going to happen overnight.
So while automation is inevitable, McKinsey says, research suggests that the revolution will proceed in a slow step-by-step manner rather than a sudden jolt.