The writerGeorge Eliot cautioned us “Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the mostgratuitous.” I’m going to ignore their caution and make a very specificforecast in the world that we are innovating very rapidly, we are going to seemore things that are going to look like science fiction and fewer things thatare going to look like jobs. To be able to predict any change in future jobmarket we need to understand the forces acting on the current job marketbecause if there were no forces; tomorrows job market will be exactly astoday’s.so what is changing the trajectory of the markets?The firstforce is the globalization, because its rate of increase is becomingexponential, it started with the trade agreements first then social agreementsby EU, and now we are getting closer to one currency and one language. Thesecond force is automation and robots. We can see the change very clearly inour lives, for example an Indian car worker costs are expensive than a robot, plusthey don’t go on strikes… yet. The third force is artificial intelligence; theAI itself is a force but also an enable, it makes the automation and robots lotmore effective. robots were available for the past 50 years but their growthwas linear, now with AI they are growing exponentially.
Other micro forces are: shifting demographics,access to information. This is affecting many industries and now we also havedecentralized work environment, 3d printing, nanotechnologies they are lot moreforce at work but these are powerful enough to shape the future of labourmarket. Let us seewhat drivers these forces, what fuels them.
Because if you understand thedrivers you will understand the longevity and impact of these forces. If welook at one of these forces, you will understand they all are fueled by onething, that is the need for profit maximization in broader terms capitalism. As long as we live in capitalism, humankindwill continue to progress until we are faced with an existential crisis. So thetransition will work this way. It will start with individual activities so thejobs as a professional will not disappear as a whole.
For example, If I want tobe an accountant I will have bookkeeping, financial accounting, managementaccounting and reporting now with the effect of all these forces AI will dobookkeeping reporting and financial accounting and I will be left to do onlymanagement accounting. The profession will not be erased immediately but oneperson will be able to do the work of thousand people because you are doing avery small part of series of tasks that are automated. That’s how it will start.
These arethe places where jobs will be lost:Insurance companies: – An insurance company from Japannamed Fukoku has replaced hundreds of its claim representatives with IBM’sWatson.Retail and service industry: – A service sector has predictablephysical activities which most of them will be replaced. Transportation: – This is inevitable and will be the first one togo away, I don’t think we will be in a situation of no drivers but very fewdrivers. Military: – the military will most likelyperuse some form of automation that will reduce the logistic cost and removesolders from combat deployment. Construction and manufacturing: – many labour jobs are definitely lost. Accounting the data entrycomponent of bookkeeping is already eliminated by automation soon themanagement accounting will also be eliminated by AI. Finance:- started with ATM’s, PayPal, Blockchain technology and AI is doing most ofthe trading as well. Farmers are already being replaced by Ai that can almostdo everything from seeding to pulling the lettuce out.
It is already existingtechnology and only be enhanced in the future. Arts and entertainment: – many believe that human creativitycannot be matched by Ai I have a different opinion it’s just the matter oftesting. AI can run billions of tests and revise until it gets the perfectliking score from the humans. Science: – humans cannot analyse big data points beyond a certainlevel there are like entire branches of science that like climate modellinggenomics which wouldn’t exist without powerful microprocessors and automation.
IT-hardware: – I think it will be one of the lastjobs to be lost in future in tradition to Ai and automation led economy andsociety we will need millions and millions of hardware engineers designing andbuilding their own robots and infrastructure that Ai can use. The hardwareengineering site of it will rise again they have been forgotten for quite along time. In future there will be so many jobs created to build theinfrastructure for AI to have its own infrastructure building capabilitieswhich will wipe out the remaining jobs. All jobs will be lost there is nothingthat you can do that Ai with the right hardware that itself develops cannot doand its almost 15-20 years down the line and most of us will be alive to seeit.Its bad news for us because it is tough to offer your labour toan economy that’s full of machines and we see it very clearly in thestatistics. Over the past couple decades, the returns to capital in other wordscorporate profits are going up and we see that they are now all time high.
Ifwe look at returns to labour in other words total wages paid out in the economy,they are at all-time low and heading downwards very fast it is bad news for publicbut good news for corporates. But it’s actually not if you want to sellsomewhat expensive goods to the people You really want a large stableprosperous middle class but the middle class is currently under a huge threatand we are in danger of getting trapped in some vicious cycle where inequalityand polarisation will continue to go up over time the societal challenges thatcome along with that deserves some attentionBefore Italk about how I can potentially safeguard myself I want to talk about howconfident I am of this prediction. Humans grow linearly but technology growsexponentially this is the law of accelerating returns so the fundamentalmeasure of information technology follows an exponential trajectory also a deepnote here these are not necessarily my predictions, no single person can claima single prediction various reports have already outlined. If your industry hasnot yet been automated doesn’t necessarily mean you are fine that’s why Istarted writing about the forces so we will have this negative outcome as longas these forces exist and these forces will continue to exist as long as wehave the driver of profit maximisation and we will continue to have the driverof profit maximisation as long as we live in capitalism. And we will continueto live in capitalism as long as we value human progress. Because the freemarkets are the natural state of the trade so unless our need for humanprogress disappears we will end up with the doomsday scenario. this definitelysounds counterintuitive Being an MBA student I have realisedpeople don’t have MBA degree to learn anymore the MBA providers they havecreated different USP’s to stay competitive. Clearly, the skill- set of managers will need to work with machinesin future will look different from today’s.
But to what extent it will change isunpredictable. Artificial intelligence, deep learning, and the overarchinganalytics field are going to significantly change all facets of business Knowingdata science is an absolutely critical requirement. MBAs need not becometechnologists, but they must have a basic understanding of how AI and roboticswork. The potential future jobs which will be created by Ai and automation thatwill be difficult to explain now just as it was difficult to explain a job ofweb designer 25 years ago.so, the only way to augment myself is by becoming aconstant learner, acquiring new skills required for the job and carving outsome time for absorbing new information and deliberate learning. According toAlvin Toffler “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be thosewho cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn unlearn and relearn”.This analysis proves that to be relevant.
Not everyone is a college educated and it’s hard for them toacquire new skills. Let’s take an example of two stereotypical workers thefirst one is a professional, creativetype engineer or a doctor, let’s call him Joe he’s at the top of his country’smiddle class his counterpart is not college educated and works as a labourerworks as a clerk low level white collar and blue collar work in the economy let’scall him john. If you go back about 50 years both Joe and John were leadingsimilar life, they were both likely were able to have full time jobs working atleast 40 hrs a week. As we started to progressively inject technologyautomation and digital stuff in the economy the fortunes of Joe and John divergeda lot over the time Joe was able to keep a full time job John hasn’t over time Joe’smarriage has stayed quite happy, John’s hasn’t and Joe’s kids have grown upinto two parent home John’s have not over time and he started to go to prison a lot more so I cannot show you a happystory in these social trends and they don’t show any signs of reversingthemselves, they are also true no matter which ethnic group or demographicgroup we look at and they are actually getting very severe and most peoplethink is they are Joe’s they are living this amazingly busy productive life andthey’ve got all the benefits to show from that John is leading a very different life. Theyboth are the proof of how right Voltaire was “work saves a man from three greatevils: boredom vice and need”.
With these challenges what do we do? withoutthem the economic playbook is surprisingly clear and surprisingly straightforward and in the short term especially robots are not going to take all ofour jobs in the next year or two so the classic economics book 101 is going towork just fine encourage entrepreneurship double down on infrastructure andmake sure we are turning our people from our educational system with appropriate skills but for a longer term, if we are moving into aneconomy that is heavy on technology and light on labour, we have to considersome more radical interventions something like guaranteed minimum income. Thiswill make a lot of people very uncomfortable because that idea is associatedwith the extreme left wing and with fairly radical schemes free distributingwealth.The idea ofthe guaranteed minimum income has beenchampioned by socialists like FEDRIK KIAH, RIHARD NICKSON and Milton freedmanand if you find yourself worried that something like a guaranteed income isgoing to stifle our drive to succeed and make us kind of complacent you mightbe interested to know that social mobility one of the things that we reallypride ourselves on is now lower than it is in the northern European countriesthat have these very generous social safety.so the economic playbook is prettystraight forward the societal one is a lot more challenging. I don’t know whatthe playbook is for getting John to get engaged and stay engaged throughoutlife.
I do know is the education is the huge part of it I witnessed thisfirst-hand I was a nursery kid for thefirst few years of my education and what that education taught me is that theworld is an interesting place and my job is to go explore it my school stoppedin 10th grade and then I had joined college it felt like I had beensent to the gulag, with the benefit of hindsight I know that the job was toprepare me for the life as a clerk or as a labourer but at the time it feltlike the job was to bore me into submission with what was going around me wehave to do better than this we cannot have turning out Johns . so we see somegreen shoots the things getting better we see technology deeply impacting theeducation and engaging people from our younger learners up to a oldest ones wesee very prominent business voices telling us we need to rethink some of the thingswe are holding to dear for a while and we see various sustained and data drivenefforts to understand and intervene some of the most troubled communities we have.So the green shoots are out there and I don’t want to pretend for a minute thatwhat we have is going to be enough. we are going to face a very tough challengeto give just one example unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million 2017 to 18 million in 2018 and we are not going to fix thingsfor them by sending back them to primary schools and my biggest worry is thatcreating a world that we are going to have glittering technologies embedded inkind of a shabby society and supported by an economy that generates inequalityinstead of opportunity. But I don’t think that’s what we are going to do but weare going to do something a lot more better for one very straight forward reason the facts are getting outthere the realities of this new machine age and the change in the economy arebecoming more widely known if we want to accelerate the process then we coulddo things have our best economists and policy makers play jeopardy againstWatson we could send our parliament members on an autonomous car road trips andif we do enough of these kind of things the awareness is going to sink in thethings are going to be different and then we are off to the races because Idon’t believe for a second that we have forgotten to solve tough challenges orthat we have become to apathetic or hard-hearted to even try Nehru once said ifwe are to bring the broad masses of the people of every land to the table ofabundance it can only be by the tireless improvement of all our means oftechnical production Ghandi realised that there is one other ingredient he saidI am a firm believer in people if given the truth they can be dependent uponmeet any national crisis