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Robots will not steal ALL of our jobs

By Shannon Williams, Tue 8 Sep 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

There is a constant stream of reports and news stories predicting the demise of certain industries and the loss of jobs as a result of the increase in automation used in the workplace. Despite this, industry advisory Forrester Research insist robots are not taking our jobs any time soon, at least not all of them.

“The data in the market on anticipated job loss thanks to automation is quite dire,” the research firm says in a company blog post, “with the most popular study claiming that nearly 50% of jobs will be impacted.

“But these studies have so far ignored an important factor of automation — jobs created.”

Forrester Research says that while there will be jobs lost in the coming years thanks to robots, driverless cars, and cognitive computing (the company predicts a 16% job loss rate between 2015 and 2025), but people forget about the potential jobs that will be created in categories like software, engineering, design, and maintenance.

Forrester forecasts automation will create 13.6 million jobs over the next decade, equivalent to 9% of the workforce, to yield a net job loss of 7% in the US by 2025.

Not to be overlooked, according to Forrester Research, is a third category: jobs transformed.

“By 2019, Forrester expects robots to change 25% or more of every job category across every industry,” the company says. “The medical clinician is a great example, as cognitive computing will increasingly transform how doctors diagnose and prescribe treatments.”

What does this mean for business? “Current thinking has pushed for a rush toward automation to cut costs, but that quite simply should not be the focus,” Forrester Research says.

“Rather than serving customers as cheaply as possible, automation should be thought of as a means to delivering a customer experience that meets customer expectations instantly.

“To do so, firms must turn their efforts toward creating an environment where human employees can effectively work alongside robots,” the company adds.

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