There has been a recent spate of articles in the mainstream media about how 65% of the jobs in Las Vegas will be lost or that 1.2 million Scottish jobs will be at high risk due to automation. Whilst these articles postulate about the future we are seeing market headwinds and automation make more than 50,000 jobs redundant in India’s vibrant IT industry.

This kind of Luddite predictions have really shaken up the market and has led to many dire predictions about the human workforce. But is the world really going into a reality where humans will be replaced by automation?

These kinds of predictions bring to mind the Indian anti-bank protests of 1980. In the early 1980’s when Indian companies were first becoming computerized, there were massive protests which stated that The computers were a capitalist evil that would rob people of their jobs. But 30 years later this introduction of computers is one of the reasons why India has become one of the leading economies in the world.

But the above is just a historical precedent. As most mutual funds prospectuses are wont to say “Past results is not a indicator of future performance” Will the past really be an indicator? Or are we in a new normal?

Make no mistake. Some jobs will be lost. For example, the advent of cars put all the horse wagon riders out of business.  But is it really so bad?

First, let’s take this to heart. Not all jobs which can be automated will be automated. A McKinsey report states that the following factors are taken into account for a job to be automated:

  • technical feasibility
  • The cost to automate
  • the relative scarcity, skill set, and cost of workers
  • benefits (eg, superior performance) of automation beyond labor-cost substitution
  • regulatory and social acceptance considerations

Based on the above factors career’s whose job description including any of the below are highly susceptible to automation:

  • Data Collection
  • Data processing
  • Predictable physical work

Whilst those careers which involve managing others and interacting with stakeholders are less susceptible to automation.

This is a big change. Millions of Careers will see a huge shift in their job description. But what we know is this:

 Things are going to change radically, but we don’t know how they’re going to change

It is early days. We do not know the full extent of Automation, but we rest assured it is going to be the harbinger of new opportunities.