The future of work is not zero-sum between humanity and technology, says The Bank of America Corporation (BofA). In a new report, the financial service group says that humans can collaborate with and work alongside robots, rather than be displaced by them, while technology can create more jobs than it destroys.
It noted that by 2025 alone the World Economic Forum (WEF) thinks automation will add 12 million net new jobs with robots eliminating 85 million jobs but creating 97 million new ones.
Other grounds for optimism include: 65% of children starting school today will work in jobs that have not been invented yet; ‘new’ collar jobs will be generated from well-placed thematic sectors like healthcare, renewables, new mobility or even moonshot technologies and we might actually be more productive and have more leisure time if robots can relieve us of more mundane, repetitive everyday tasks.
BofA has identified $14 trillion in market cap of enablers for the future of work, with technology, industrials and medtech some key beneficiaries. “We also see opportunities in education and the upskilling/retraining of workers by corporates. Conversely, commercial real estate/offices and legacy transport are some of the sectors facing headwinds,” it said.
Robots won’t take over the world but we can’t ignore risks
Don’t underestimate humans’ ability to one up technology…There are areas where humans can beat machines, BofA said. “In the future we believe there will likely be an increasing premium for jobs within occupational groups that require social intelligence, creativity and complex problem solving as opposed to repetitive, low dexterity skills.”
For instance, an event planner requires more social intelligence than a dishwasher in hospitality, fashion designers require more creativity than a seamstress in apparel, and a medical surgeon requires greater perception and manipulation of tasks than a clinic receptionist within healthcare, it pointed out.
Don’t disregard the risk from robots either, it warns. Covid has hastened the adoption of technologies such as AI, chatbots, robot process automation (RPA) in white collar roles and industrial robots in blue collar jobs – all of which we estimate could displace 2 billion jobs by 2030.
Up to 47% of US jobs could be at risk over the next 20 years from computerization. And in emerging markets, this figure could reach 85%, the report noted.
Finally a recent survey of AI researchers places a 50% probability on all human tasks being automated in 45 years where there is a 50:50 likelihood of full AI (human-level AI, full breadth of human capabilities) by 2040-50 and a 90% possibility by 2075.
Tech can create jobs not just replace them
Technology is transforming the jobs we do and humans are adapting to this disruption, BofA said.
“We are already seeing this today with the rise of cleantech leading to a jobs boom in wind turbine service technicians and solar photovoltaic installers. We are also seeing growing demand for nurses, home aides and mental health counsellors as these roles need interpersonal and empathy skills that robots simply cannot automate.
“Furthermore we are also likely to see further expansion in creative jobs that already exist such as directors, musicians, and fashion designers.”
In other words, areas where robots are unsuccessful in replicating human skills – artistic, intuitive and relational, it said.
The financial services group said that technology advancement could also lead to more leisure related occupations such as yoga teachers, sommeliers and dog walkers. “Ultimately we think the future of work is humans and robots not humans versus robots as we believe net-net innovation will continue to offset the risk of mass job automation.”
What will your Gen C (grand) children do for work?
In a transforming world, BofA noted that we ultimately need transformative jobs.
According to BofA, many jobs of the future are yet to be created where 65% of children starting school today will work in jobs that have not been invented yet.
“We are at the early stages of ‘Eureka! Future Tech‘ where we think the exponential growth of moonshots technologies will create a new wave of professions that we have not even thought of yet,” it said.
Some of these could include:
|3D Food Printer Chefs||Driverless “Ride Experience“ Designers|
|3D Printed Clothing Fashion Designers, Material Specialists, and Stylists||Ethical Technology Advocates|
|3D Printer “Ink“ Developers||Ethics Algorithm Experts|
|Afterlife Brain Simulation Specialists||Extreme Geneticists/Synbiologists|
|Agriculture Rewilding Strategist||Freelance Biohackers|
|AI Avatar Designers||Future Human Body Designers|
|Algorithm Insurer||Genetic Super Baby Designers|
|Bio-Meat Factory Engineers||Leisure-Time Designer / Occupation Brokers|
|Cryptocurrency Lawyers/Investment Strategists||Nano-Medicine Surgeons/Specialists|
|Cyber Data Hostage Specialists||Privacy Managers|
|Digital Cultural Media Commentator||Space Tourist Guides|
|‘Dismantlers‘ of Legacy/Old Economy Systems|