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A Quarter Of U.S. Jobs To Be Affected By Advancement Of A.I.

In the future, the class of workers affected by automation could grow as machines become more intelligent.

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A worker lifts a lunch bowl off the production line at Spyce, a restaurant which uses a robotic cooking process, in Boston, Massachusetts, May 3, 2018. VOA

Robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of existing work, according to a new Brookings Institution report.

The report, published Thursday, says roughly 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high exposure” to automation — meaning at least 70 percent of their tasks could soon be performed by machines using current technology. Among those most likely to be affected are cooks, waiters and others in food services; short-haul truck drivers; and clerical office workers.

“That population is going to need to upskill, reskill or change jobs fast,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings and lead author of the report.

Muro said the timeline for the changes could be “a few years or it could be two decades.” But it’s likely that automation will happen more swiftly during the next economic downturn. Businesses are typically eager to implement cost-cutting technology as they lay off workers.

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This photo illustration shows a man watching an artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor from a state-controlled news broadcaster, on his computer in Beijing, VOA

Some economic studies have found similar shifts toward automating production happened in the early part of previous recessions — and may have contributed to the “jobless recovery” that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

But with new advances in artificial intelligence, it’s not just industrial and warehouse robots that will alter the American workforce. Self-checkout kiosks and computerized hotel concierges will do their part.

Most jobs will change somewhat as machines take over routine tasks, but a majority of U.S. workers will be able to adapt to that shift without being displaced.

The changes will hit hardest in smaller cities, especially those in the heartland and Rust Belt and in states like Indiana and Kentucky, according to the report by the Washington think tank. They will also disproportionately affect the younger workers who dominate food services and other industries at highest risk for automation.

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Pods full of merchandise are moved around the floor by robotic drives, named Amazon robots, at the Amazon fulfillment center in the Staten Island borough of New York, Dec. 5, 2018. VOA

Some chain restaurants have already shifted to self-ordering machines; a handful have experimented with robot-assisted kitchens.

Google this year is piloting the use of its digital voice assistant at hotel lobbies to instantly interpret conversations across a few dozen languages. Autonomous vehicles could replace short-haul delivery drivers. Walmart and other retailers are preparing to open cashier-less stores powered by in-store sensors or cameras with facial recognition technology.

“Restaurants will be able to get along with significantly reduced workforces,” Muro said. “In the hotel industry, instead of five people manning a desk to greet people, there’s one and people basically serve themselves.”

Many economists find that automation has an overall positive effect on the labor market, said Matias Cortes, an assistant professor at York University in Toronto who was not involved with the Brookings report. It can create economic growth, reduce prices and increase demand while also creating new jobs that make up for those that disappear.

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Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

But Cortes said there’s no doubt there are “clear winners and losers.” In the recent past, those hardest hit were men with low levels of education who dominated manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs, and women with intermediate levels of education who dominated clerical and administrative positions.

Also Read: Facebook To Soon Come Up With Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence

In the future, the class of workers affected by automation could grow as machines become more intelligent. The Brookings report analyzed each occupation’s automation potential based on research by the McKinsey management consulting firm. Those jobs that remain largely unscathed will be those requiring not just advanced education, but also interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

“These high-paying jobs require a lot of creativity and problem-solving,” Cortes said. “That’s going to be difficult for new technologies to replace.” (VOA)

 

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Report: Employees, Managers Waste Too Much Time Searching for Executing Routine Tasks

The report surveyed more than 1,100 senior executives across eight countries and industry sectors

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All of this takes time and focus away from people doing what they want -- and are paid to do, the findings showed. Pixabay

Employees worldwide spend more than 25 per cent of their time searching for the information they need to perform their jobs, and managers more than half of their time executing routine tasks, a new report said on Tuesday.

It’s a problem IT has largely created by steadily implementing technology they thought would simplify work, that has only made it more difficult, said the research from desktop virtualisation firm Citrix and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Within a typical company, the average employee needs to navigate four or more applications just to execute a single business process. And accessing them requires managing multiple passwords and interfaces. All of this takes time and focus away from people doing what they want — and are paid to do, the findings showed.

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When it comes to creating a world-class employee experience, nearly identical numbers of IT and HR executives indicated they feel personally responsible for improving it. Pixabay

“People today want the freedom to work when, where and how they want. And they expect things to be as easy as they are in their personal lives,” said Tim Minahan, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer, Citrix.

“To attract and retain talent in today’s tight labour market, companies need to rethink what ‘workplace’ means and create digital environments that accommodate traditional, remote and gig workers and deliver the tools, and information they need to do their best work in a simple, unified way,” he added.

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The report surveyed more than 1,100 senior executives across eight countries and industry sectors. Pixabay

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The report surveyed more than 1,100 senior executives across eight countries and industry sectors. “Nearly 36 per cent cited enhancing customer experience and satisfaction as the top reason for improving employee experience, just behind productivity and employee engagement (40 per cent), 31 per cent listed profitability, and 30 per cent called out talent retention,” said the report.

When it comes to creating a world-class employee experience, nearly identical numbers of IT and HR executives (74 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively) indicated they feel personally responsible for improving it. (IANS)