Almost half of American jobs today will be automated ‘in a decade or two’


Baxter, the flagship robot by Rethink Robotics in Boston.

Computerization. Automation. Artificial intelligence. Technology. Innovation. Robots. These are the many names of an invisible force that has been stoking progress and killing jobs for centuries. But it’s different now because nearly half of jobs in America today could be automated in the next 10 to 20 years, according to a new paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, discussed recently in The Economist. The question is: Which half?



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Top 13 ‘Futurist Speaker’ Columns in 2013

Futurist Thomas Frey: 2013 has been a year of considerable change for both me and the rest of our team at the DaVinci Institute. While most of what you see here on Futurist Speaker is about my research, thinking, and philosophy on the future, I thought this might be a good time to step back and fill you in on the people behind everything you’re reading.



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Automated future – get used to being served by machines

Industry analysts say humans are disappearing from retail establishments, replaced by kiosks.

It all started in a chain of supermarkets when one section of the check-out aisles suddenly had self-service scanners. Consumers were encouraged to check themselves out, paying with cash or plastic.



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OpenRemote – software that ties the Internet of Things together

OpenRemote is an open-source Internet of Things platform.

If you were to buy several Internet-connected home gadgets—say, a “smart” thermostat, “smart” door lock, and “smart” window blinds—you would likely have to control each one with a separate app, meaning it exists on its own. But, that’s not how Elier Ramirez does it. In his home, an iPad app controls his lights, ceiling fans, and TV and stereo. Pressing a single button within the app can shut off all his lights and gadgets when he leaves.



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Smart machines will replace millions of jobs within 15 years

People will adapt to smart machines in their lives.

Coming to the business world: smart machines. But don’t tell that to the CEO’s. Sixty-percent of CEOs surveyed by Gartner Research say the emergence of smart machines capable of absorbing millions of middle-class jobs within 15 years is a “futurist fantasy.”



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How new technology is destroying jobs

Baxter is a robot meant to work with people in small manufacturing facilities.

Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.



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