work robot

80 to 90% of jobs will be eliminated in the next 10 to 15 years

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Can robots really take your job? Technological advances have long since revolutionised the landscape of the world of work, and advances in artificial intelligence now raise fears that robots may take over even highly skilled jobs.
 
Ahere is no shortage of examples, from autonomous cars that could put taxi drivers out of work (although Uber has just suffered a setback in this respect, having to interrupt his programme after an accident), to the growing role of algorithms in journalism, to robots that inform customers in shopping centres or machines that help surgeons to identify cancerous tumours or heart abnormalities.
 
A 2013 Oxford University study of 700 trades in the United States concluded that 47% of them were at risk of being automated.
Data corroborated by a McKinsey study, which found that "almost half of the business could be automated by adapting current technology. McKinsey concluded, however, that only 5% of jobs could be "fully automated.
 
But according to Vivek WadhwaAs a technology entrepreneur and member of Carnegie Mellon University in Silicon Valley, these studies are a far cry from reality.

Superfluous" men

"These studies underestimate the impact of technology: 80 to 90% of jobs will be eliminated in the next 10 to 15 years."Vivek Wadhwa, author of a forthcoming book on the subject, told AFP.
"Artificial intelligence is progressing much faster than we thought. Alexa PDAs or Google Home are becoming very intelligent very quickly. Microsoft and Google have proven that artificial intelligence can understand human language better than humans can."he adds.
Barack Obama's economic advisers last year noted that most jobs paying less than $20 an hour were likely to be automated. With disturbing social consequences.
 
Yuval Noah Harariauthor and historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of the international best-seller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humanity ", thus warns against technology that will make men "superfluous": "While algorithms push humans out of the labor market, wealth and power could be concentrated in the hands of a small elite with almighty algorithms, creating unprecedented social and political inequality."he says.
Harari refers to the Oxford study, which classifies job losses due to automation by sector: the most affected will be cashiers (97%), bakers (89%) or servers (77%).

Social upheavals

On the contrary, James BessenThe economist and Boston University researcher believes the problem is exaggerated, noting that technological advances generally lead to more jobs, even if the nature of work changes:
"Robots can replace humans for some tasks, but not for everything."he told AFP, confessing that the automation of the system is not "will destroy a lot of low-skilled, low-paying jobs".
 
The impact is still unclear, but many are already questioning how to manage the inevitable shifts in the world of work.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has thus advocated a "tax on robots", an idea put forward in particular by Benoît Hamon, the socialist candidate for the French presidential election.
But this solution could be counterproductive according to Mr Bessen: "If you tax the robots, you're going to slow down the positive effects of the process."
 
Others would like a "universal basic income" to compensate for job losses, a measure that is also on the agenda of the French socialist candidate.

READ ALSO IN UP' : Socialist primary: a victory for universal income?

However, for Vivek Wadhwathe problems are deeper and more creative solutions will have to be found: "A Basic Income will not solve the social problems of job loss because people's identities revolve around their work. Even if we have enough food and energy, we're going to have to deal with the social upheaval that's coming. There needs to be a broader discussion.
 
"It's very possible that we can meet this challenge."says James Bessen. "But we've seen in the last 20 years that things are not going in the right direction."
 

READ ALSO IN UP' : Trends confirmed in 2016: robotics and human revolution increased 

 
Source: AFP
 

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