When it’s April, every employee expects promotion or increment in the corporate world. Well, people should start thinking about their jobs, rather than increment. Forget promotion.
The extent to which robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous industry are advancing, it looks like in the coming 35-40 years there won’t be job for more than 50% of the people, according to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the number 1 private-sector think tank in the world (2016). They also found that if it continues at this pace, then global productivity will increase from 0.8% to 1.4% per year, that can’t be achieved by humans. They said that considering all the types of jobs available in the market, there are 60% such jobs in which 30% of that work of employee can be easily carried out by automation and AI, enhancing productivity, reducing human error.
In Dongguan, China, a mobile production company has cut short the number of employees from 650 to just 60 and installed 60 robots, for which productivity saw in a hike of 250% and defective products were also minimized by 85%!
Even ManpowerGroup, the largest multinational human resource consulting firm, conducted a survey in 43 countries and submitted a report in the World Economic Forum and showed that due to this robotics and AI advancement, some fields like banking and finance, agriculture, food industry are going to be affected the most, where the same works are getting executed repeatedly throughout the day. Oxford University also gave a shocking result: in the coming 20 years, 47% of the Americans will suffer from job loss because of this ‘Robotic Revolution’ and globally, the toll will be around 55-60%.
All of these might not sound true, but it is already happening. In India, commercial bank HDFC has started to implement IRA (Intelligent Robotic Assistant), an interactive humanoid in Kamala Mills Branch, Mumbai. They are planning to implement 20 more such robots in the coming 2 years. In order to achieve ‘Improvement Efficiency’, it has been observed that from September 2016 to December 2016, 4581 employees have lost their jobs. Citi Bank, Yes Bank, and SoftBank are also in the line of implementing AI and robotics that will be able to interact with people and try to answer their questions.
So, with all of these going on and about to take place, is there any solution to avert social unrest and political implications? Well, some countries have come up with a grand scheme known as Universal Basic Income (UBI). The pilot project has started in Sweden. According to this scheme, a minimum amount will be provided to individuals who become jobless. Initial estimates reckon it to be €350-500.
Switzerland wants to next test it. A referendum was organized in which voters rejected it emphatically by 63-37. India is starting to brush with the idea of UBI. It was mentioned in this year’s economic survey by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian. It entails slashing of most of the government schemes and subsidies, replacing that with UBI.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has further advocated it’s funding through the implementation of a robot tax for the jobs lost to automation. Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has also supported this idea. Now, only one can tell what will happen next.