AI is coming for white-collar workers

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While robots upend blue-collar factory work and trucking in the middle of the country, AI and machine learning are poised to deeply alter white-collar jobs in superstar coastal cities.

Why it matters: No one is immune to the shockwave of automation in the workplace.

“AI will be as central to the white-collar office environment as robotics has been to the production economy,” said Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. “They’ll fundamentally change what work is and what humans do. And no one gets a free pass.”

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Chinese millennials are rejecting dull factory jobs — and transforming the economy

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Job seekers check out employment ads at a recruitment fair in Qingdao, eastern China. (STR / AFP/Getty Images)

Life as one of China’s industrial worker ants did not suit Liu Xu: waking up early in factory accommodation, working for 11 hours operating a machine in the tool-making factory, eating all his meals in the factory canteen and going to bed, only to wake up and do it again.

His parents spent most of their lives in deadening jobs — his father on construction sites and his mother in factories — but 23-year-old Liu Xu lasted just a year in a factory in the southern China city of Dongguan. Half of that was the time his company invested in training him to work the machine before he up and quit.

Like Liu, a generation of young Chinese is turning its back on the factory jobs that once fueled China’s growth — and they are helping to transform the economy by doing it.

“Life in the factory was really boring and repetitive,” Liu said. “Every day I walked into the factory, I felt like this was all there was to my life. I was going to end up in that factory forever.

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Six Indian Factory Workers Drown In Giant Vat Of Tomato Ketchup

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Killer Tomatoes Strike In India
Six workers drowned after falling into a giant vat of tomato ketchup at a factory in India. The horrifying incident unfolded on Wednesday evening when a female worker slipped and fell into the 6m deep tank.

As five colleagues dived in to grab her they were all overcome by fumes given off from fermenting vegetables and drowned. Two more workers were in a hospital following the tragic incident at the Akansha Food Products unit in Lucknow, in the Uttar Pradesh region of northeastern India.

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