Home Tech News Disruptive: 5 million jobs ‘to be lost to technology by 2020’

Disruptive: 5 million jobs ‘to be lost to technology by 2020’

Disruptive: 5 million jobs ‘to be lost to technology by 2020’
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No fewer than  5.1 million jobs will be lost worldwide by year 2020 as a result of disruption by technology, a new report from World Economic Forum Survey 2016 has predicted.

According to authors of the report, the survey data was gathered from respondents in 15 economies which account for about 1.86 billion workers, approximately 65% of the world’s largest total workforce provides direct information on the expected relative employment changes to job families between 2015–2020

The report states that “current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labor market changes over the period 2015–2020.”

Noting the key factors behind the predicted labour market changes, the report states that technological disruptions are seen as very significant drivers of industrial change, among which growth in cheap computing power and the ubiquity of the mobile Internet, have already had widespread impact on existing business models.

A doctor carrying out test on a patient
A doctor prescribing drug to a patient during health awareness campaign by Rotary Club of Iponri

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]Noting the key factors behind the predicted labour market changes, the report states that technological disruptions are seen as very significant drivers of industrial change, among which growth in cheap computing power and the ubiquity of the mobile Internet, have already had widespread impact on existing business models.[/quote]Additionally, technological trends whose potentially far-ranging implications have not yet fully materialized such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are also expected to be well underway in specific industries by 2020.

The report explains that advanced robots with enhanced senses, dexterity, and intelligence can be more practical than human labour in manufacturing, as well as in a growing number of service jobs, such as cleaning and maintenance. Moreover, it is now possible to create cars, trucks, aircraft, and boats that are completely or partly autonomous, which could revolutionise transportation, if regulations allow by 2020.

Another technological disruption, according to the authors of the  report include advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural user interfaces (e.g. voice recognition) which are making it possible to automate knowledge-worker tasks that have long been regarded as impossible or impractical for machines to perform.

The report explains that technological advances in manufacturing technology, promises a new wave of productivity. For example, 3D printing (building objects layer-by-layer from a digital master design file) allows on-demand production, which has far-ranging implications for global supply chains and production networks.

Application of technology, has already changed when and where work is done in practically every industry as workplaces of the industrial age give way to work practices of the digital age, including remote work, flexible work and on-demand work, the report also explains.

Business activities seen underway at Ikeja Computer Village, the biggest market cluster in Nigeria
Business activities seen underway at Ikeja Computer Village, the biggest market cluster in Nigeria

[quote font_size=”0″ align=”right” bgcolor=”#” color=”#” bcolor=”#” arrow=”no”]Another technological disruption, according to the authors of the report include advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural user interfaces (e.g. voice recognition) which are making it possible to automate knowledge-worker tasks that have long been regarded as impossible or impractical for machines to perform.[/quote]The report further explains that new technologies are enabling workplace innovations such as remote working, co-working spaces and teleconferencing. Organisations are likely to have an ever-smaller pool of core full-time employees for fixed functions, backed up by colleagues in other countries and external consultants and contractors for specific projects.

The use of remote sensors, communications, and processing power in industrial equipment and everyday objects will unleash an enormous amount of data and the opportunity to see patterns and design systems on a scale never before possible, the report predicts.

The long-term impact of artificial intelligence and robotics notwithstanding, authors of the report explains that the focus of the report is on today’s workforce and talent strategies and how they can contribute to successfully managing this transition.

According to the authors of the report, “Recent discussions about the employment impact of disruptive change have often been polarized between those who foresee limitless opportunities in newly emerging job categories and prospects that improve workers’ productivity and liberate them from routine work, and those that foresee massive labor substitution and displacement of jobs.

“Academics, chief executives and labor leaders hold strong and diverse views on the debate, as do policymakers. It is clear from our data that while forecasts vary by industry and region, momentous change is underway and that, ultimately, it is our actions today that will determine whether that change mainly results in massive displacement of workers or the emergence of new opportunities”, the authors advised.

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Elizabeth Edozie Technology Journalist @Technology Times 08077671659 elizabeth.edozie@technologytimes.ng

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