Machines Are Now Replacing Creative Work TooWITHIN A DECADE, 47% OF EXISTING US JOBS COULD NO LONGER BE THERE, AND IN ITALY THE PERCENTAGE COULD REACH A STAGGERING 56% OF THE WORKFORCE, AS ALFREDO BIFFI EXPLAINS IN HIS RECENT PAPER. AND THIS GOES BEYOND ROUTINE TASKS
For centuries, technology has freed man from work-related fatigue and helped create new jobs. “For ten years now, new technologies have failed to produce this effect and new skills do not compensate for the jobs lost to automation”, Alfredo Biffi says. Affiliate Professor of Information Systems at SDA Bocconi School of Management, he wrote with Pier Franco Camussone Lavoreremo ancora? Tecnologie informatiche e occupazione [Will We Still Have a Job? Digital Technology and Employment], Egea: Milano, 2017, and presented a working paper on the subject at the science workshop on the Fourth Industrial Revolution held in Trento in March 2018.
For the paper, he interviewed 750 managers, HR directors, experts, and fresh graduates in the field to assess their perceptions. More than 85% of them are aware of what is going on and think that digital automation is no longer replacing just routine manufacturing activities, but will also eventually have an impact on creative work. About 55% of them think that upcoming technological change will not bring additional happiness. In fact, the numbers featured in international research studies are shocking. Michael Osborne and Carl B. Frey of Oxford University have collected data on 700 occupations and estimated that 47% of jobs in the US will be at risk within the next 10 years, a number rising to a staggering 56% when it comes to Italy. Researchers at the McKinsey Global Institute say that at least half of current jobs will be automated by year 2050.
“Even jobs that are not going to disappear will be redesigned”, says Biffi. “The question is not whether we will still work in the future, but how are we going to make a living in such a low labor-intensive world. The ongoing technological revolution will give us five, perhaps ten-fifteen years to devise new models of economic development. On a more hopeful note, in the coming future young people will have the chance to design their own jobs as long as they invest in soft skills, training, and understanding the way machines work.”
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by Claudio Todesco