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The era of most humans being employed is nearly over... What happens next?


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(NaturalNews) The advancement of the Technology Age continues, and with it stunning discoveries and a plethora of new capabilities. But all of this advancement is also coming at a price and that is this: many human activities are becoming obsolete, and that includes jobs. What's the next phase then, of human development and, more importantly, employment?

That's the focus of a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch called, "A Transforming World," which examines the impact technology is having on traditional human activities.

"It is the BofAML view that we have entered a period of accelerated innovation driven by three ecosystems of creative disruption: the Internet-of-Things (IoT); the Sharing Economy; and On-Line Services," the report begins. "The consumer wins: tech makes things easier, less time-consuming, less uncertain, and less costly. Corporations will be disrupted: incumbents are threatened, innovators will win."

While the report forecasts some good things for humanity – like robot care-givers for the aged and infirm – it also forecasts that technology will wipe out more than one-third of all jobs in the United Kingdom and nearly half, 47 percent, of all jobs in the United States – and that includes white collar jobs. Machines will do the replacing.

"Haven't we heard all this before, though? From the luddites of the 19th century to print unions protesting in the 1980s about computers, there have always been people fearful about the march of mechanisation," writes Charles Arthur for The Guardian. "And yet we keep on creating new job categories."

Technology is advancing as rapidly now as it ever has

Nevertheless, there are rising concerns in many economic research sectors that advancing technology – especially in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), which can make logical inferences about surroundings and experiences – will eliminate entire categories of work while radically reshaping societies.

"The poster child for automation is agriculture," Calum Chace, author of Surviving AI and the novel Pandora's Brain, told Arthur. "In 1900, 40% of the US labour force worked in agriculture. By 1960, the figure was a few per cent. And yet people had jobs; the nature of the jobs had changed.

"But then again, there were 21 million horses in the US in 1900," Chace continued. "By 1960, there were just three million. The difference was that humans have cognitive skills – we could learn to do new things. But that might not always be the case as machines get smarter and smarter."

Already there are signs of major upheaval caused by a lack of gainful employment. Some analysts have said much of the turmoil in the Middle East is being caused by lack of opportunities, especially for younger men who are being duped into joining radical causes like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Job losses may lead to anarchy

As for robotics, this technology long ago began to replace human workers – on assembly lines, in restaurants and, as mentioned, in the fields. And it's only getting more pervasive.

Robotics will accelerate. "The number of industrial robots is up 72% in the past 10 years while the number of US manufacturing jobs is down 16%," the BofAML report noted.

Still, the employment sector has been resilient throughout technological change, noted Carl Benedikt Frey, who with Michael Osborne published the seminal paper, "The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization?" in 2013. BofAML relied heavily on the paper to produce its report. He says that traditionally, as some jobs are replaced, new ones are created that focus more on services and interaction with and between people.

"The fastest-growing occupations in the past five years are all related to services," he told The Guardian. "The two biggest are Zumba instructor and personal trainer."

But if enough jobs aren't created to replace those lost to technology, the societal upheaval will turn to chaos and, eventually, to anarchy.

Sources:

theguardian.com

bofaml.com [PDF]

robotics.news
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