Thursday, October 06, 2016

Cooperman's View of Automation in the Next Generation is Chilling: 45% of Jobs Lost?

If this is true we will be looking at huge disruptions in the coming decade.
According to Cooperman, the futurist was “very provocative” and said the biggest problem the economy faces in the next decade is automation.
“He said the biggest problem in his opinion the economy was facing in the next decade was 45% of all jobs being performed in the economy will be replaced by automation. And there’s no alternative employment for displaced workers.”
Cooperman drew the parallel to the fund industry where auto-investing in index funds and ETFs is taking the place of hedge fund managers. 
But think about that 45% number for a minute. That would be a Great Depression style disruption to the work force. Many of these jobs killed by automation will probably be the ones where you don't need tons of schooling at first. Driver-less cars will get rid of the taxi as well as the Uber and Lyft industries and drain most of the jobs from the Rental Car industry as well. Automatic chefs and payment kiosks will get rid of many fast food workers. Drones or automated trucks would take care of many deliveries. Even smart home sensors of the Internet of Things might be able to get rid of many handyman style jobs. Imagine if your dishwasher phoned home and ordered the part you need to fix it and it was designed for you to do it yourself.

Also some robots or algorithms could do the job of many white color workers as well. Cooperman talks about hedge fund managers being replaced but I can see much of middle management going as well. You don't need so many layers of people between a "CEO dashboard" and widget sales and production that is being run by algorithms in the cloud. If you think about it, many customer service jobs will come back from India and go to Siri-like AI instead. Instead of paying peanuts to Indians you pay nothing to Siri. 

If you get down to it, AI would even disrupt the sciences. Imagine an AI that combs through 1000s of research papers gleaning information from each of them. It if was smart enough it could even reach conclusions from these papers and publish its work. Also image this AI being connected to reams of data coming out of telescopes or sensors around the world and also making conclusions and writing papers from this as well. Skynet aside but you can replace quite a few scientists and their funding with very smart AIs. The IBM commercial with Watson writ large.

Academia might be greatly affected because much of the knowledge needed for automation, AI, and smart devices will need code to be written and maintained. So Khan Academy style code boot camps could take the place of 4 year college degrees in many cases. Why do you need to go into debt for tens of thousands learning a job that an algorithm could do for free? Even K-12 would be disrupted as many of the skills you need to get a job in this new economy can be taught online. Teachers Unions would be on the warpath as kids stay home and learn how to maintain and write for AIs.

Finally, content creation for TV, movies, and video games could get disrupted as well. Imagine an AI taking in reams of viewer data fed by Amazon, Google or Netflix and cross referencing it with your preferences. Imagine if that AI could then write a document on demand using a language algorithm. You go to Amazon and a book will be generated to your preferences and you would love it because it was basically written by a machine for you. 

Imagine if that AI could also write a script and have it produced for you using amazingly lifelike CGI actors. Suddenly you could pay x-dollars and you have a 22 episode action series set in the Forgotten Realms starring Natalie Dormer and Tom Hanks as elves fighting in the Crown Wars. Revenue streams would be generated to use Dormer and Hanks likenesses and for the IP for the Forgotten Realms and no one would have to physically do anything. Hell, you could throw in the estates of deceased persons and you can replace Tom Hanks with Jimmy Stewart with a few clicks. The time it would take to recast your Crown Wars epic would be the time it would take to respawn the movie on the Amazon Content Creation Server.

One of the only things I can think of that won't be automated is the Government Industrial Complex which would fight to stay backward for job security purposes. Senators and Congressmen and their courtiers would still have jobs. Even though a Siri-like interface for government would save tons of money and be light-years more efficient. But if an AI can write a script or a book it can certainly be made to lobby Congress.

1 comment:

catherine richards said...

I will always have a job