Automation To Take All Our Jobs

27 March 2017 Dashboard Insights Blog
Author(s): Jeffrey A. Soble

Okay, perhaps not all our jobs, but a lot of them. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, among other places, PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report recently that up to one-third of jobs in the United States were at risk for automation.  This was higher than the risk in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.

The issue with us on this side of the Atlantic and Pacific, respectively, is that we have more jobs vulnerable to automation – robots and artificial intelligence. PwC specifically called out the insurance and financial sectors of the economy as being ripe for automation.  Notably, the problem was that in the United States, as opposed to other countries (at least per PwC), these jobs require less education and have less of an international focus than in other countries.

Certainly, other jobs are at risk. Anything that involves driving is under attack from driverless vehicles.  Any job that could be done on an app is in trouble.  Have you checked into a hotel recently?  Did you even bother stopping at the front desk, or did you open your app, pick your room, check in, and use an electronic key.  Have you looked around your office to see what the administrative assistant to professional ratio might be?  Whatever it is now, the ratio will be greater in the future. Just look at law firms!  Our firm used to be two attorneys for every assistant.  That number is now closer to 4-to-1 than 2-to-1.

Not everyone agrees. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently stated that, “I think it’s 50 or 100 more years” before automation takes jobs (as reported by the Verge).  Now, to be fair, Secretary Mnuchin differentiated between automation and artificial intelligence, “That to me isn’t artificial intelligence, that’s computers and using real technology we have today …”  From our perspective, no matter how you slice it, whether it is a computer, an algorithm, robotics, artificial intelligence, or the hosts from Westworld, it means fewer jobs for people.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services