A new report says that over 38% of American jobs are going to be handed over to robots and computers in the next 15 years. This percentage is higher than the one predicted for many european countries.
The study was done by accounting and consulting firm PwC, which says that its numbers come from current projections and information on technological advancements that could work their way into the workplace.
The study says that more U.S. jobs are subject to automation, because most American jobs don’t require as much brain power. Even jobs in the finance industry will go to automated computers… and one reason why is that we may not be educated enough.
The LA Times reports:
The analysis, by accounting and consulting firm PwC, emphasized that its estimates are based on the anticipated capabilities of robotics and artificial intelligence, and that the pace and direction of technological progress are “uncertain.”
It said that in the U.S., 38% of jobs could be at risk of automation, compared with 30% in Britain, 35% in Germany and 21% in Japan.
The main reason is not that the U.S. has more jobs in sectors that are universally ripe for automation, the report says; rather, it’s that more U.S. jobs in certain sectors are potentially vulnerable than, say, British jobs in the same sectors.
For example, the report says the financial and insurance sector has much higher possibility of automation in the U.S. than in Britain. That’s because, it says, American finance workers are less educated than British ones.
While London finance employees work in international markets, their U.S. counterparts focus more on the domestic retail market, and workers “do not need to have the same educational levels,” the report said. Jobs that require less education are at higher potential risk of automation, according to the report.
But robots won’t necessarily replace so many human workers. The report highlights several economic, legal and regulatory hurdles that could prevent automation, even in jobs where it would be technologically feasible.
For one, the cost of robots — including maintenance and repairs — could still be too expensive compared with human workers. And in the case of self-driving vehicles, questions remain about who is liable in an accident.
In other words, moving robots outside of a controlled environment is “still a big step,” said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC in Britain.