By 2021, a report from market research company Forrester revealed that 6% of all job in the US will have been taken over by robots, including customer service and driving jobs.
These robots represent the newest forms of AI-powered systems that can understand the behavior of humans and can make decisions on our behalf. Current technologies include some of the virtual assistants available on phones like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. For now, these might seem simplistic, but the next five years are going to show off incredible growth.
These robots will help companies cut costs - but it won't help the US job market.
“By 2021 a disruptive tidal wave will begin. Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics, customer service and consumer services,” said Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, according to The Guardian.
About 45% of US online adults say that they have at least one of the aforementioned AI devices to help them with calendars, web searching, playlists, and purchasing.
Forrester believes the future will look something like this: “The doorbell rings, and it’s the delivery of a new pair of running shoes, in the right style, color, and size, just as you needed to replace your old ones. And here’s the kicker: you didn’t order them. Your intelligent agent did.”
The transportation industry will see the elimination of drivers thanks to driverless cars and trucks.
The low percentage might seem like it isn't a big deal, but it is actually pretty significant.
“6% is huge. In an economy that’s really not creating regular full-time jobs, the ability of people to easily find new employment is going to diminish. So we will have people wanting to work and struggling to find jobs because the same trends are beginning to occur in other historically richer job creation areas like banking, retail and healthcare,” said Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union. “It’s an early warning sign and I think it just portends a massive wind of change in the future.”
Studies have shown that higher rates of unemployment are bad, and these jobs are important - especially for people who may not have had the privilege of going to college.
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“There is a lot of correlation between unemployment and drug use,” said Stern. “Clearly over time, particularly in urban settings, the lack of employment is tinder for lighting a fire of social unrest. Politicians would rather talk about getting a college degree and technical skill training, things that are probably 5-10 years too late. We don’t really have a plan and we don’t appreciate how quickly the future is arriving.”