A new World Economic Forum study has concluded that robots and artificial intelligence will handle about 52% of current work tasks by the year 2025. That’s almost twice as many as they already currently handle.
Although AI is expected to generate about 58 million jobs, it will also decimate the middle class, according to the Internet of Business. The WEF report, The Future of Jobs 2018, predicts that 75 million jobs will be displaced by AI, robotics, and automation, but suggests that 133 million new jobs may be created as organizations attempt to shift the balance between human workers and machines: a net gain of 58 million jobs. But they also predict that this shift will be a bloodbath for the already hard-hit middle class.
While many people believe that routine, low-skilled jobs will fall to the machines first, the WEF paints a bleak future for many roles that were once considered safe, middle-class careers. Financial analysts, accountants, auditors, lawyers, bank tellers, statistical, finance, and insurance clerks, general managers, and administrators are all listed under “redundant roles” over the next five years. –Internet of Business
Drivers will also be hit hard, and that industry’s pummeling will be felt across the nation, as many states report van, car, and motorcycle drivers are the most common of jobs. In place of these jobs will be machines that won’t have to be paid, but also come with data analysts, AI and machine learning specialists, innovation and digital transformation experts, robotics professionals, experience designers, and what the WEF calls “people and culture specialists” – all roles that machines would find hard to replicate.
By 2022, 38 percent of businesses surveyed expect to extend their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles, and more than a quarter expect automation to lead to the creation of new roles in their enterprise.
In addition, businesses are set to expand their use of contractors doing task-specialized work, with many respondents highlighting their intention to engage workers in a more flexible manner, utilizing remote staffing beyond physical offices and decentralization of operations.
Respondents expect increased job creation in such project-based, temporary and freelancing roles, pointing to structural labor market transformations in terms of contractual arrangements and employment relations, as well as occupational profiles. -WEF report on artificial intelligence
So while the middle class is set to take a beating, the wealth inequality gap will continue to widen, separating harshly the wealthy and the poor. And the timeline is not that far off.