How will Automation change the future of work?
How will Automation change the future of work? Disruption? Yes! Destruction? Definitely not!
In 2003, following the first phases of digital and industrial automation, Autor, Levy and Murname wrote a report on the future of work and came up with a new and different way of looking at it.
There were 2 main aspects to this:
Robots, both digital and industrial, perform tasks not jobs. Tasks are a smaller unit of work than a job. Therefore a job can include many tasks, some of which are suitable for automation and others not.
Tasks that robots undertake are best described as routine and non-routine, rather than skilled/unskilled. For example, recalculating a complex list of numbers is a skilled task which nonetheless can be automated if it is routine (e.g. with a spreadsheet), whereas cleaning an oven whilst being unskilled is non-routine and therefore harder to automate.
This shed light on where the job changes were being most affected (and destroyed). The top and bottom tiers of jobs were mainly unaffected due to the nature of them being either high value and non-routine through being complex and thought based (top tier), or low value, non-routine for the bottom tier but the middle section was hit hard……..
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