back to article The robots are coming! 12 million jobs lost to automation in Europe by 2040 – analyst

Across Europe, 12 million jobs will be lost by 2040 through automation technologies, according to analyst firm Forrester Research. With the pandemic increasing the adoption of digital technologies in business, the region is forecast to embrace automation to address its demographic challenges, the analyst said in a new report. …

  1. Stumpy

    Didn't we hear the same arguments when automation and robotics became commonplace in the Automobile/Manufacturing industries, or in the business world when computers first started appearing in the office?

    The reality is that some jobs will invariably go. However, it is far more likely than not that a whole raft of new jobs and industries will spring up around those industries that have automated. After all, someone needs to program the computers and service the robots.

    Analysts simply attempting to scaremonger as usual.

    1. mpi

      > someone needs to program the computers and service the robots.

      Yes, but how many persons are doing that, and how many persons have been replaced by the robot they service?

      Also: While this means good business for me and others in IT, the people who are being displaced cannot just go find a job in these markets, as this requires special skills and knowledge.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        We've been here before - first with farming automation, then manufacturing. There'll be new jobs that haven't even been though of.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          People keep on making that assumption. It has never been proven as a fact.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
            Facepalm

            It's a good job we didn't mechanise agriculture and that 99% of the population still work on farms.

            Otherwise we'd have one hell of an unemployment problem.

          2. Persona Silver badge

            It's impossible to prove as many new jobs are beyond our current comprehension. e,g. who 30 years ago would believe so many people could make a living being "influencers".

            More importantly it's never been disproven .

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

              254 years ago, Adam Smith claimed that human wants are infinite.

              He hasn't been disproven yet. Until that's disproven we have no reason to believe that we won't continue dreaming up new occupations as we have done for a very long time.

              1. runt row raggy

                i get your gist, and although wiggish, it seems reasonable. especially given the op relied on the old ant-science trope, we haven't proven (gravity, e.g.) so therefore not gravity is just as plausible.

                however, i do object to this argument. i think you're relying on this syllogism X "not disproven" = X correct. clearly not.

          3. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

            People keep on making that assumption. It has never been proven as a fact.

            Of course it has. Who worked in IT 75 years ago? How many are in the industry now?

            200 years ago the mechanised cotton mills in Lancashire were well established. The need for weavers nosedived. People benefitted in that clothing became a lot cheaper. Money that had been needed for clothing could now be spent on something else. In other words, people were richer: their clothing needs were fulfilled but they now had additional money left over as well.

            100 years ago 40% of the British population worked in agriculture. Now it's less than 3%. The difference in the tractor and other mechanisation and other technology such as fertilizer and pesticides. Even factoring in those working in these associated industries you don't have a third of the population on the dole, they are doing other things.

            Again the population has benefited - food is comparatively far cheaper. You may spend what, 10, 20% of income on food. A century ago it would have been the majority. That "spare" money isn't just mounting up in bank accounts, it is being spent on other things that would not have been viable previously. Your standard of living has increased because you can afford those extras, the money you spend on them supports those providing them.

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          There'll be new jobs that haven't even been though of.

          That not the point

          The point of automation is to make less work for yourself

          society doesent seem to realise this and as soon as one thing is automated we find new shit to do .

          Now that we have tractors in the fields and robots in the factories we should be on about 2 days per week!

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: There'll be new jobs that haven't even been though of.

            Should...

            Toffler made that point back inthe 60s (Future Shock)

            What's actually happened is the rise of the Bullshit Job

        3. mpi

          The last round of manufactoring automation was mostly about jobs doing repetitive, easy to describe programmatically, things. Because of that, it could be done with the technology available back then. The challenges were mostly in the electromechanical parts of the robots, the software was relatively straightforward.

          And it created jobs, because a lot of the labor required to build, assist, control, configure and manage these machines could only be done by humans. Combined with the rise in service industry jobs (which robots couldn't do either 20 years ago) we saw a net rise in jobs.

          This time, the situation is different. The jobs that will be taken are jobs done by humans because we thought only humans can do them 20 years ago. The advantages are mostly not in robotics, but in the software controlling the robotics, so no huge manufacturing industry going to spring into existence because of it.

          The nature of the ontrolling software changed as well. The robots of yesterday had to be programmed step by step to perform their tasks (creating a lot of programming, controlling, etc. jobs). The new robots learn to do tasks by example and are guided by machine learning systems.

          And last but not least, this time around automation will hit the service sector just as hard as manufactoring, if not harder.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            This time, the situation is different.

            That is no different.

            Its just more work machines can do for us that we dont have to do .

            sadly we will not take advantage of this and find some other shit to do .

            or just do more of the remaining shit and "grow" the economy ... like that was a good thing

            1. mpi

              It's different in the sense that this wave of automation will not usher in a net rise in available jobs. It will be the first time in history that automation lowers the number available jobs.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                "Full Employment" has been a myth since the mid-late 19th century. Marx observed this happening

                Automation was the root cause of getting rid of child labour and sweatshops, then improving worker conditions (40 hour weeks, etc)

                Subsequent methods of covering up lack of full employment have been exclusion of various groups from the workforce (married women, ethnic groups, etc)

                Large sections persist in blaming the unemployed for being unemployed when the reality is that there aren't enough "jobs" (real jobs, not bullshit jobs) to go around. This is a direct product of the pervasive puritan religious mindset of "the Devil makes work for idle hands"

                It's better to accept that definitions of "working" and "job" need some fundamental changes - along with a bunch of other attitudes.

                Attempting to resist automation by banning or obstructing it simply results in the entire industry concerned getting killed off by businesses which embrace it - see British ship building, US Steelmaking, etc etc (British industry to a large extent too, by failing to invest in upkeep and modernisation of plant, etc)

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "The last round of manufactoring automation was mostly about jobs doing repetitive, easy to describe programmatically, things."

            On the other hand, white collar jobs have been automated out of existence at a prodigious rate for a long time and it's not slowing down

            When was the last time you saw a room full of ledger clerks making entries?

            White collar repetitive jobs are even easier to automate than manufacturing ones, but the ones that people don't object to losing are the "dirty, dangerous or flat our mind-numbing" ones - hence why nobody made much of a fuss when robot welders, stampers and painters appeared on car lines

            Automation of "office work" has tended to not see much complaint as it's tended to be women and low end staff replaced. Now that computers can do a lot of "manglement" level repetitve stuff things are changing but for the most part "sinking lid" tends to be the order of the day - more works gets taken on by existing people and as senior staff retire they're simply not replaced

            That kind of gradual change is harder to do on a production line, which is why factories tend to simply shut down and end up rebuilt completely somewhere else. It's easier to pick up and train an entirely new (smaller) workforce than have to deal with the resentment and disruption of culling 50-80% of existing staff (usually the "valuable" ones will be headhunted to the new location)

            And of course there's the old political saw of "bringing jobs back" - it isn't going to happen. If that factory in Sonora was forced to move back into the USA, it would become a plant in Kentucky employing 400 people (including the gardeners) - beware of politicians who use this as a campaigning pledge because they're simply promising the impossible (nobody is going to DECREASE automation, because humans are the most expensive part of the equation. You only use them for jobs that machines can't do)

        4. Why Not?

          Yep delivering takeaways and working in warehouses on zero hour contracts..

      2. hoola Silver badge

        It is also a numbers game.

        What robotics will be doing is replacing huge numbers of the jobs that are currently in the mean wage bracket.

        What will remain is the debris at the bottom that is too expensive to automate and an ever decreasing number of skilled positions.

        There are only so many "managers" needed. What this is all about is short term gains for the (already very well off) people in the upper echelons of business with increased profits.

        This is not sustainable as they will start to lose their market as those who are displaced can no longer afford to buy the products and services these companies offer. The current incumbents simply don't care as it falls under "not my problem".

        This is not the same as the mechanisation of construction or replacing production lines with robots. The replacement jobs just don't exist in the numbers required and are unlikely to be created.

        Robots replacing jobs is not just a business issue, there are huge moral and social issues as well. Currently in the race quick money the long term issues are being ignored.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          We have been replacing workers with robots for a hell of a long time.

          It wasn't all that long ago that 99% of the population worked on farms.

          Now we have (lots of) nurses. We have gym instructors. Etc. etc. Almost every job now didn't exist 200 years ago. And the same will be true in another 200 years.

          More automation and mechanisation means that a task is more efficient. That means that as a society we are all a little bit richer. For example a robot that grinds the oats for your morning porridge means that your breakfast is cheaper than it would be if it was done by hand. That means less people working at the porridge factory on better money. It means cheaper porridge for you.

          The people who lost their jobs? They can go and do something else. Our unemployment rate is bugger all - and that's after what? 200 years? of creeping advances in mechanisation?

          Raising productivity means that wages go up and costs go down. That is why we are all ludicrously wealthy compared with a few decades ago. All this because we stopped wasting labour on things that we didn't need to do by hand anymore.

          You remind me of the Malthusians. "This time it's different". It's not.

          1. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
            Holmes

            Technology advances

            What you say is true in the medium to long term.

            In the short term there were several thousands of displaced workers with little or no relevant skills for those 'other jobs'. That was the primary reason for the Luddite movement.

            When we look at what those new jobs might be, it is necessary to take demographics including aptitude and attitude into account.

            I once knew a person who was perfectly happy doing his (very) repetitive task day in and day out; he had no desire at all to learn anything else - in his words "I know everything about my job and I don't need to learn anything else".

            I am not sure how prevalent that attitude is (worryingly high is my guess) but it needs to be addressed. The days of 'having a job for life' may be long gone, but I am old enough to remember when that was the expectation and leaving an employer was seen as an act of disloyalty.

            That attitude lingered in the UK far longer than in the USA where changing jobs every 2 to 3 years (in the 80s and onwards) was seen as normal and is no longer seen as 'job hopping' in the UK at least by many companies.

            In the medium to longer term, we need to redefine what we really mean by education because today's systems are not going to be suitable for the future where change is not only going to happen, it will probably happen on a more frequent basis.

          2. hoola Silver badge

            I feel that many have missed the point.

            Society will not become richer as the money will all end up in the hands of a very small number of very wealthy corporations and people. Until the global issue of tax and offshoring is resolved, money will continue to be removed from general society.

            If the tax take drops because there are fewer people paying tax then what?

            You cannot get more back from the top of the heap because is is a global issue that realistically there is a lot of noise but no agreement. There are simply too many vested interests.

            Many of the jobs that are cited are paid for by the state or are providing a service. That requires sufficient money into the state to pay for them or sufficient people paid enough to afford to pay for the services.

            The only winners in automation are those are the top, what is happening is that the automation is becoming easier to move both up and down the pay scale job type & job technicality.

            Say that there will be future jobs that we don't know about is on the same lines as BJ stating the solution to the UKs Climate Goals are to invest in technology we don't know exists yet.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              @hoola

              "Society will not become richer as the money will all end up in the hands of a very small number of very wealthy corporations and people"

              That seems to be the opposite of what we see. The poor countries are labour intensive and the more automated and richer countries have plenty automation. Not only do those richer countries have states providing many services (which people take for granted) but the people themselves are richer, even the poor.

              "If the tax take drops because there are fewer people paying tax then what?"

              First answer would be spend less. But taxation is huge and as a trend increasing. Wealthy countries no longer discussing their people in absolute poverty but instead people in relative poverty, because the first is practically solved.

              "The only winners in automation are those are the top"

              And everyone else too. We like to automate dull, repetitive jobs but also to give ourselves more free time for other things.

              "Say that there will be future jobs that we don't know about is on the same lines as BJ stating the solution to the UKs Climate Goals are to invest in technology we don't know exists yet."

              Not even close. The claim of a miracle technology is not the same as what has been observed for the entire human history.

          3. Why Not?

            Such naiveite

            As we know from the years of Downsizing, Age related redundancy, Offshoring, onshoring, best shoring and using 7 year olds to make trainers most corporations don't give a damn about most of their workers. They are only interested in making the world's richest men richer.

            If you have been watching the truck driver & hospitality staff shortage you will have realised that the only thing that puts up wages is scarcity of cheaper labour.

            Unless more high grade jobs replace those removed its a race to the bottom with a Dollar a Day the corporate wage target.

            Many of us in IT will reinvent ourselves as needed, but we will have our fair share of ex miners who will be unemployed for decades.

        2. iron Silver badge

          You and several other commantards seem to be missing the fact that those masses of unemployed people you are speaking of will not exist because they aren't being born. It is spelled out several times in the article that this is about falling birth rates and aging populations but you still seem to have missed the point. It is hard to displace someone who does not exist.

          1. Why Not?

            Oh they are being born but due to immigration because our lords and masters are solving the wrong problem. They think we need cheap biddable labour, we don't we need taxes to care for our population.

            Automation is happening now. 10 + million people will be affected we need to get on top of that.

        3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          There are only so many "managers" needed.

          Most management jobs - and all HR jobs - are already completely unnecessary. Robots won't replace them because they don't actually do anything.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        In the case of the car industry, 12,000 workers in a factory in Detroit became 1500 higher paid ones in a factory in Sonora, turning out better quality product at a higher production cadence

    2. Chris Miller

      Scary numbers #1682

      12 million jobs sounds a lot, until you realise that this projection (aka wild-ass guess) is for 18 years time, in Europe, where out of a population of ~450 million, over 30 million change jobs every year. Still sound scary?

    3. Why Not?
      Boffin

      Already here, keep up at the back!

      Now when I walk in to the nationally known Burger/Chicken/Pizza joints I have to order from an electronic kiosk or my phone. The staff numbers have reduced by 30%. With 3d printing / automatic grilling its going to reduce by 60%. Ending with just a security guard, cleaner and someone who loads Burgers etc in a hopper. Franchises will disappear and be replaced by automated restaurants remotely monitored and taxed (yep the big thing is the hole in taxation to pay for benefits & the NHS).

      Any supermarket now has self service which has cut the number of higher paid till staff massively.

      Robot stocking is a thing and will replace staff.

      10 years ago I spent an interesting evening drinking with a couple of Germans commissioning an Asparagus picking machine near the site I was visiting. Most fruits & vegetables can be mechanically harvested now.

      (X)ponics & vertical farming are reducing land use with the side benefit that fruit etc is much easier to pick.

      Printing houses is a thing, Expect it to grow massively no more Brick layers.

      Modular housing also a thing, fewer Carpenters, plumbers, electricians.

      Bots are replacing customer service agents in their thousands.

      Taxi & delivery companies are frantically working on driverless deliveries so your takeaway will arrive via drone etc.

      The suggestion that servicing these systems is going to be enough to replace the jobs lost has a number of problems

      1. POS systems are normally only fixed when they break so 8 self checkouts replacing 7 till operators (you need someone to change till rolls / authorise Alcohol) on each of 3 shifts would probably only supply 2-4 hours of work total for an Engineer a week for all 8 tills . How often do you see an Engineer fixing them rather a member of staff closing it until the engineer arrives.

      2. Whilst loading burgers in the auto-grill is not highly skilled most Technicians need a modicum of intelligence and training even to swap modules out that are repaired in workshops, of course wages are driven down because a third party does the maintenance. Not sure I would let some of the staff I meet in supermarkets near sharp objects!

      3. Sorry programming this stuff is quite difficult, as you can see when using the self service tills in some shops who have a GUI that is just plain annoying. Having programmed massive ACD systems and Bots it is quite challenging predicting all paths users may take and making the experience bearable.

      4. As stuff gets more common and we learn more the suppliers try and reduce staff interaction completely or place the staff remotely in a lower cost country. That is their 'edge' saving staff costs.

      5. Any job that tries to replace the jobs lost must be suitable for those replaced, that means they will need aptitude and training this may not be suitable for the pimply teenager that is in the supermarket. Some may be passing through but many find shelf stacking suits them for their life and or periods when they need to regroup.

      6. If you replace the jobs then we need to ensure the new jobs won't disappear in the next wave and pay enough that workers are a benefit to taxation to pay enough for those unable to work.

      We need to train and prepare for this so the pain is limited.

  2. Julz Silver badge

    We

    Need something to make all the stuff the increasing number of oldies need.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: We

      So once robots can make cat food, Werther's Originals and daytime telly there'll be no more need for young people then...

  3. devin3782
    Alert

    By 2080 the Butlerian Jihad assuming humanity makes it that far

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Buy n Large

      Gotta love Wall-E. Yes, at a certain point we will be come like humanity in Herbert's world...

  4. Giles C Silver badge

    Those numbers

    The researchers said that by 2035, about one in four people will be 65 or older, up from one in 13 in 1950; by 2060, this will rise to one in three.

    If you take the line above then if everything continues on a linear path how many under 65s will there be by 2100?

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Those numbers

      Extrapolations like this are essentially meaningless. One can fit pretty much any curve one likes to three points, even supposing there's a constant underlying function. This is particularly the case where two of the three points are hypothetical. It would be really informative to have some detail from the period between 1950 and the present, against which to establish the nature of any trend. There have been two significant shifts in economic emphasis over those 70 years, and the rate of change has not been constant.

      Nevertheless I suspect that the concept of "working age" will change significantly (indeed is already changing). Even now, 'important people' - politicians, performers and other celebrities already don't tend to retire in their mid-60s, and I suspect that a lot of others will be joining them (as they mostly did in earlier times, when 'retirement' was a luxury for the rich).

      However I see a danger in that automation will serve as an excuse for the progressive elimination of job security - and not just for the 'oldies'. Zero rights employment is already on the rise, turning vast numbers of people into truly expendable 'human resources'.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Those numbers

        > Zero rights employment is already on the rise, turning vast numbers of people into truly expendable 'human resources'.

        That's not true.

        Casual labour, as it was called before it was politicised, is very popular among people on those types of contract.

        Approx 1 in 40 is on a "Zero Hour Contract". Polling shows that the vast majority of them want a ZHC because of the flexibility it gives them. They mostly aren't people who would rather work a 9-5. Think college students, stay at home mums who want a few hours here and there, etc.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: Those numbers

          I wrote zero rights employment, not zero hours. A fair zero hours contract will include statutory employment rights (as the Uber drivers have just won). An unfair zero rights contract doesn't, regardless of the hours contracted for (as the Uber drivers rightly complained about).

        2. Paul Kinsler Silver badge

          Re: Those numbers

          ZHC's can be, also, extremely unpleasant for those who need regular income, but can only get a ZHC; especially if the ZHC makes it impossible to have other work at the same time (perhaps by some stipulation that you must *always* be available at no notice).

          The task therefore, for regulation, is to somehow balance the benefits and costs of a situation with two extremes. It might be, for example, that the positive side of ZHC's are more socially significant than the costs; or it might not.

    2. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: Those numbers

      I should have put a sarcasm tag on that post. I was just commenting on the stupid output of those numbers

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Oh. My. God.

    Borkzilla ? Still ? In 2060 ?

    Kill me now.

    Can we have a hangman's noose icon ?

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    States have to tax robots as they tax workers. With more robots there will be less jobs, and if it's attractive to shareholders to increase dividends, expect more jobs erased. Robots do also produce wealth, so a part of that wealth should be beneficial to the whole community.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Christ on an self driving electric bicycle. What have I just read?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Christ on an self driving electric bicycle. What have I just read?

        I'm not sure either.

        Were you (a) giving a stage direction & some dialog for Christ; or (b) asking one of several nearby Christ's (presumably the one on an electric bicycle) for clarification?

        :-)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Christ on an self driving electric bicycle. What have I just read?

          If an omniscient deity is on a self-driving bicycle ?

          That would be an ecumenical matter....

      2. jmch Silver badge

        I think the original post is fairly clear apart from the 'States have to tax robots', bit, although it's clear from the context that it means 'States have to tax robot owners'. It is also correct. I am assuming that in the future, government is still expected to provide basic services to the population (infrastructure, security, healthcare not to mention ever-increasing pension obligations).

        If there are less workers (going to happen because of demographics not just because of robotics), and company profits (and dividends) rise, then the total income of workers goes down and the total income of shareholders goes up. So workers will pay less tax and shareholders more. That would be inevitable even without any changes in tax laws.

        Given that tax laws are currently skewed in favour of shareholders (dividends and earned income are taxed at a lower rate than earned income), a tweaking of tax laws to bring that in line would probably also be warranted.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          States already tax robot owners. It's called corporation tax, dividend tax and capital gains tax. i.e. the profits of companies and the profits of their owners.

          If the normal companies in the economy get as good at avoiding corporation tax as the mutli-national IT companies like Google, Apple and MS - then we'll have to move more taxation to the shareholders (who find it harder to avoid) or to consumption. So more VAT or taxes on land/property.

          Of course it's possible that governments will create robot tax inspectors, who will fight Google/Apple/Microsoft's armies of robot security guards and the winners will rule the scorched remains of the Earth and all its surviving cowering peasants...

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      sounds weird , but its true.

      The whole "capitalist" system has to be redesigned if robots are doing all the work.

      If there no work to do we cant all work all day . much as we apparently want to .

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Free market capitalism just is. It's not something designed, or that can be re-designed. What you mean is that you want communism. And the answer is no.

        1. breakfast
          Terminator

          It's not an irresistible law of physics, though, the market is more akin an ecosystem that shapes itself to the environment around it, which is what states create with regulation. If it can find a way to change that environment in its favour it will, but when competent states regulate where the boundaries of the market exist it can survive without turning everything into a dystopian hellscape and making our lives intolerable. Unfortunately we only have politicians interested in serving the market rather than us, so of course it is increasingly steamrolling us and it will continue to until it has killed us all or we have found a way to replace the politicians with ones willing to regulate and shape it.

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          What you mean is that you want communism

          (12 hours ion tractor factory and queuing for bread?)

          Of course thats not what i mean

          .

          Let me reiterate .

          If we created a world where robots catered to our every whim and did all the work , including looking after themselves , and there was literally no work for anyone to do , then its bloody obvious that "the system" would have to change.

          Whilst we arnt quite at that stage yet we should be looking to ease into it as automation gradually does more of the legwork"

  7. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    this is great news

    12 million jobs will be lost by 2040 through automation technologies

    .

    Fantastic , the sooner we get every afternoon off , with the robot monkey butlers serving us cocktails the better.

    Unfortunately this will require a massive societal shift away from the current system of

    "if you're not working yourself into the grave 40 hours per week you dont deserve any money"

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: this is great news

      "Fantastic , the sooner we get every afternoon off , with the robot monkey butlers serving us cocktails the better"

      For a potential ultimate outcome of this, see 'The Midas Plague' [Out of the Unknown, BBC2, 20 Dec. 1965]. The collection is available from the British Film Institute.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: this is great news

      Right from the beginning of my working age life I've hated the modern feudalism that is the "career". The way people try to "advance themselves" - prostitute themselves. I looked hard for a way to get out of that horrible situation and it took me years to find it.

    3. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: this is great news

      No one 'deserves' any money. If you want stuff that is in any way scarce, you have to pay for it. It's up to you to find the money to do so.

  8. codejunky Silver badge

    Yikes

    "Green energy and digital technologies could help offset the jobs lost to automation, Forrester added."

    If we are expecting there to be such a huge need for green energy workers (probably box tickers) it sounds like a waste of time and money. Before covid we had full employment, the best in decades. Assuming jobs will be lost while ignoring jobs created causes this mistaken panic

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Yikes

      > huge need for green energy workers

      We prefer the term compost

      1. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

        Re: Yikes

        Soylent Green?

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Like my boss said

    If you can be replaced by a robot, your job SUCKS and you're better off without it

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Like my boss said

      Did your boss follow that up with...

      "...soooo, yeah, about that new machine that's being installed on your desk..."

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Like my boss said

        +50 if I could! I love it! about that new machine!

        At this hour it's beer not coffee, I won't hold you to a keyboard, but could you get this round??!

  10. Big_Boomer

    Same old same old

    Automation of jobs is nothing new. It's been happening since forever and the world economy hasn't collapsed yet. It gets rid of rote jobs and replaces them with jobs managing/maintaining the automation at a higher skill level and goes hand in hand with an increase in productivity. If people want jobs that they don't have to think about, those are going to get rarer and rarer much the same as there is very little demand these days for people skilled in the use of a scythe for harvesting wheat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Same old same old

      When I joined my current employer,a large university, thirty years ago we employed hundreds of secretaries to type things. Now we employ none, but we employ more admin people than we ever did secretaries.

  11. msobkow Silver badge

    Of course there will. The 0.001% won't be happy until they own 99.999%.

  12. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Pirate

    More Lost Jobs

    If robots will do the jobs in the ageing populations of countries in the EU and, a particular target, Japan, what will happen to the usual suspects who non-stop insist that population replacement --- endless churn --- is vital, nay, imperative to fix the ageing of the populations in those countries ?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: More Lost Jobs

      Don't worry there will still be foreign robots to blame.

      Coming over here using our electricity, interfacing with our servers

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More Lost Jobs

        Don't worry. They can paint them white and put all markings and UIs in English to soothe many-a Gammon's fears.

  13. itbod

    I look forward to seeing what improvements can be made in the care sector.

  14. DS999 Silver badge

    Why is that a problem?

    Given that there will be 30 million fewer people of working age a decade later, despite the automation there would be a pretty large shortage of workers. Though probably more offshoring will make up that difference and then some, and people will wrongly place the blame on automation.

    Automation job displacement isn't a problem for the economy as a whole. It is only an issue for those displaced, since it won't be evenly across all jobs. Truck driving jobs will probably be almost completely gone by 2040, so younger truck drivers will need to find themselves a new career later in life which isn't always easy. Other jobs like plumbers will not be affected by automation at all, aside from maybe installation of pipework for new construction which may eventually be automated but probably not by 2040.

  15. The Empress

    So what

    We're becoming an economy of people selling insurance to each other.

    1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: So what

      Taking into account that these days we buy insurance online… No, we don’t become a nation selling insurance to each other.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: So what

        No. It's shoe shops. But before every shop in the country has been replaced by a shoe shop, we will first reach a kind of Singularity. The Shoe Event Horizon.

        So I predict by 2040 that the few remaining survivors of the European population will have evolved into birds, and will shun the ground and never talk of their uncomfortable feet again.

        In short, don't buy shares in Nutrimatic drink dispensing machines.

  16. fredesmite2

    If you have been inside a McDonnell recently in the US

    It's all robo-counter ordering .

    There is a human close by to fix your order when you fuck up pushing buttons

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: If you have been inside a McDonnell recently in the US

      That's what happens when you demand a $15/hour minimum wage.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: If you have been inside a McDonnell recently in the US

        Yeah, Bad workers wanting a living wage !

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: If you have been inside a McDonnell recently in the US

          @Claverhouse

          "Yeah, Bad workers wanting a living wage !"

          I guess that depends on what you believe about the balance of payment/workforce. Higher wages puts more people out of work. Amusingly for the UK one of the estimates for a living wage (think it was around the £12 mark) was about the value of minimum wage without being taxed. Which means they were being paid the 'living wage' but it was taken off them.

  17. Securitymoose
    Megaphone

    Hogwash?

    "The researchers said that by 2035, about one in four people will be 65 or older, up from one in 13 in 1950; by 2060, this will rise to one in three." Trying to imply that we should all run around panicking about our pensions?

    Are they ignoring the number of older people killed by the pandemic, the tide of younger immigrants (illegal or otherwise) and the fact that folks who are past 'retirement' will continue to work in other activities until they drop, because of the increasing cost of living?

    This is the sort of scaremongering that seems prevalent these days. Automation helps people to become (usually) more efficient, more productive and have more leisure time in which to spend their hard-earned. This boosts GDP and ultimately (should) make everyone better off, regardless of age.

  18. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Being as I'm

    down amongst the robots already

    Once you've replaced the low skilled jobs/people with robots... what do they do for money?

    "Get training" or some other platitude when they really mean fuck off and die.

    Most of the low skilled I run into in the course of employment tend to be from the lower end of the IQ bell curve. thye're able to do everything day to day, and admit to mef that sometimes they struggle with maths/english, but put them on the guaging at the end of the line and they'll check every part quite happily.

    Training? education? nope sorry...

    In the end you'll end up with a society consisting of the uber rich and their lackeys, and the skilled people like myself... the rest will be on ZHC for whatever they can hustle... and come the revolution.... hopefully the mob will see the value in us skilled people....

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Being as I'm

      @Boris the Cockroach

      "Once you've replaced the low skilled jobs/people with robots... what do they do for money?"

      We are quite away from replacing all the low skilled jobs with robots. We import people to do low skill/pay jobs that we dont want to do already and its already kicked off now the supply from the EU cant be easily got. There is also the difference in skill for the academic and the trades which both require their own skill sets better suited to the right people.

      If you mean people too stupid to participate in society (which does exist) then surely they come under disabled? Which in a highly productive economy (automated) can provide a good level of care.

      ""Get training" or some other platitude when they really mean fuck off and die."

      Which of course happened when the 90% of the population lived a peasant lifestyle barely alive and working in a field all day were replaced by machines? (Nope). Or when manufacturing became less important than services? (Nope).

      One of the things that cause people to fuck off and die is not going through the industrial revolution and boosting productivity. All those poor countries with people dying in droves would benefit from advancement.

  19. Oliver Knill

    If one looks at the data in https://data.oecd.org/unemp/unemployment-rate.htm and changes to from 1955 to 2021, one can notice a trend, similarly as in global warming: in the last 60 years global unemployment had a tendency to increase. The argument "we have been here before and just replace unskilled workers" already today does not apply any more. Engineers already program programs which write computer programs (like building programs which build translation software). Once you are in the range that the highest qualified tasks are replaced, like also in research or teaching, the 12 million number appear to me highly optimistic. And then there is the trend that work is being centralized by big tech companies, especially in IT.

  20. Zack Mollusc

    what will managers do?

    It will be interesting to see how management will cope with robots that run 24/7 . How will they assign additional tasks to said robots and how will they persuade the robots to get by on reduced 'pay' ie kW/hours?

  21. SeanSmith

    There is an infinite amount of work that needs to be done that can improve human well being

    Technology brings change with plenty of work at the technology and human interface.

    Markets find the next most valuable thing it is that you can do.

    For some the next most valuable thing will mean a reduction in income

    Where this is politically unpalatable, then governments will step in.

    Keep Calm and Carry On

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