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The Future of Workplaces in the Age of AI and Automation



Future Workplaces

The automation and AI industry has taken over the world. It is being employed in every walk of life, personal or professional spheres. With the combination of robotics and automation, the fields of engineering, electronics, and science have drastically changed.  These innovations have changed the ways people perform different tasks at home or workplaces, be it the fields of medicine, manufacture, retail, business, etc. There is a huge reliability on this technology which is being further explored with every passing day to be fully incorporated in all spheres of life.

Key aspects in this discussion:

• The advent of AI and automation
• The impact of AI on workplaces
• Ethical challenges

Automation and AI is a fast-growing reality that has already replaced many jobs. Some of the most prominent examples of this are seen with the replacement of factory workers, food workers, and manufacturers, manual construction labor, machine operators, etc. According to a report published by McKinsey Global Institute in 2020, more than 800 million jobs could be lost to automation in the coming decade. This is almost 20% of the global workforce. Experts estimate that if people keep losing jobs at this pace, the coming decade might face another Great Depression which could be worse than the previous one in the 1920s.

If the above-mentioned estimate becomes a reality, the question arises, what will happen to the displaced workers? What kin d of livelihoods would they need to survive in today’s skill-based challenging workplaces? One answer to this might be retraining, up-skilling, or re-skilling. But, what about the seniors or the experts who have spent almost half of their lives in gaining expertise in their fields? Would they need to start from scratch? 

But, there is another speculation about this situation. The third-world countries have not advanced yet in automation and AI which makes them not much vulnerable to job losses on such a high scale as compared to the first world. For instance, according to the same report, India might only see a 9% loss in jobs even in the peak automation implementation. This is because Indians still rely more on traditional methods than AI in areas like retail, manufacture, agriculture, construction industries, etc. 

There is also a question of how automation and AI in the workplaces are going to surpass the ethical barriers. For instance, there what about the people who lose jobs to robots? What about the inequality and discrimination based on personalized preferences? This also increases the chances of creating racist robots which might start a new virtual war among various cultures. Similarly, there is also the question of centrality or who is going to be in control in this complex technological world? Are systems going to operate separately or within globally a united one? Besides, what about technological glitches, errors, system breakdowns, or cyber-attacks? A single mistake by a robot can cause a loss worth millions. 

Considering the above-mentioned questions, one can assume that AI and automation can be a more challenging than it seems to be. The threats, if exposed, can be far-reaching and damaging than ever before. However, the experts must keep in mind the needs and demands of specific fields, industries, or regional capacities before bringing a radical change through AI and automation as many countries might not be ready for such a huge change.

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