Factoring in the Potential of Machines to Take Our Jobs

January 12, 2017; New York Times and McKinsey Global Institute
“The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good, middle-class jobs obsolete.”
Is this, as President Obama put forth in his Farewell Address, a real problem to be addressed if we are going to cure the economic malaise that continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans? A recently published report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) evaluates the shape and pace of automation and provides some needed perspective on the challenges it will pose to our labor market and to our economy. According to the MGI analysis, current technology and expected advancements are capable of changing, and even replacing, most jobs. Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are ushering in a new age of automation, as machines match or outperform human performance in a range of work activities, including ones requiring cognitive capabilities.… Almost half the activities people are paid almost $16 trillion in wages to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology.