12/04/2017, 12.26
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By 2030, 800 million jobs replaced by machines

This is the most pessimistic prospect of a study published by the McKinsey & Company research center. The future depends on the speed with which the technology will develop. Countries with advanced development may be affected more. China will lose 100 million jobs (12%); the United States 32%; Germany 33%; Japan 46%. "Hope and challenge": technological shocks can be overcome, but a new model of formation adapted to changes is needed. In the future, more space for "intrinsic human capacities".

Rome (AsiaNews) - By 2030, 800 million jobs may be lost, replaced by automated machinery and artificial intelligence. This is the most dramatic perspective outlined by the report "Jobs lost, Jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation" published for the month of December by McKinsey & Company, an international management consulting firm. However, scholars also point to positive perspectives, as long as business and political leaders are committed to facilitating the transition.

The experts imagined scenarios are based on an analysis conducted on 46 countries at various levels of economic development, and in particular India, China, Japan, Mexico, the United States and Germany. According to the study, the amount of jobs lost will depend on the speed at which new machines will be developed: from almost zero to one third of jobs.

However, the report adds that new technologies could create jobs that currently do not exist and cannot be predicted: technological development in the long run tends to create new jobs, as happened with industrial revolutions.

The jobs most at risk could be physical ones in predictable environments, such as operating machinery,  food preparation  or data collection a task  which artificial intelligence ensures less room for error. Otherwise, the least affected are those that require the use of human skills and interaction. New jobs could be created in the context of healthcare as the population ages, and other jobs could emerge from the economic growth of developing countries and the "marketization" of previously unpaid domestic work.

According to the authors, between 75 and 375 million people may have to change their job category and acquire new skills. In absolute terms, China is the country with the largest number of workers who will need to change jobs, up to 100 million if the development is fast, 12% of the workforce in 2030. Those countries with advanced economic development could be affected most by the change: up to a third in the United States (32%) and Germany (33%), and even almost half in Japan (46%). However, it should be mentioned that the Japanese workforce should be reduced by 4 million during the period under consideration.

To help the labor market rebalance itself after the "technological shock", it is crucial that governments make the transition of the workforce and the creation of new jobs a priority. For the authors, the problem is that professional formation has not developed beyond the industrial model, remaining almost unchanged over the last 100 years.

"Automation represents hope and challenge", concludes the report.. “The global economy needs the boost to productivity and growth that it will bring, especially at a time when aging populations are acting as a drag on GDP growth. Machines can take on work that is routine, dangerous, or dirty, and may allow us all to use our intrinsically human talents more fully. But to capture these benefits, societies will need to prepare for complex workforce transitions ahead". (MT)

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