Can machines replace humans?
As background to forecasting jobs and education/skills for the future, a McKinsey Quarterly study provides input.
“Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi have been exploring what jobs are likely to be altered more or less by technology. They present some results in “Where machines could replace humans—and where they can’t (yet)” in the July 2016 issue of the McKinsey Quarterly.” (from The Conversable Economist, July 11, 2016 posting.)
In order to view this chart please click on:
( I was unable to copy the chart to this posting!)
The chart lists sixteen sectors of the economy in different manufacturing and service sectors. Each row lists seven activities which are broadly common to each sector, thus “managing others” and “data processing” for the agriculture sector are an example of two of the seven activities in this sector.
The size of the circles shows how much time is spent on each activity – a small circle for little time and a large one for much time. Thus a lot of time is spent on “unpredictable physical work” in agriculture and on “predictable physical work” in manufacturing. The colour of the circle shows how easy it is to automate that activity, thus easy to do in retail trade for “predictable physical work” and hard to do in “applying expertise” in finance and insurance. In accommodation and food service, a large amount of time is spent doing “predictable physical work” and this is easy to automate. In general a worker entering a sector where anything is easy to automate will probably have a lower salary and a higher risk of losing that job.
The table provides information to job seekers and counselors regarding employment opportunities. What sectors and skills to prepare for (education and training) can be gleaned from this figure. While some jobs are likely to be lost due to some form of automation, others will be created to provide whatever needs to be substituted. The US Department of Labour lists 800 occupations and 2000 tasks performed in the context of these occupations.
Data on wages and salaries in Canada is another source of what remuneration can be expected today for particular jobs. A web search will locate this type of information for different occupations in Canada.
One example, and there are many more, is at:
This listing shows expected jobs by title, median salary, 5 year wage growth, 5 year job growth and demand outlook.