Over the next decade, automation and artificial intelligence could throw 54 million Americans out of work.
McDonald’s is replacing drive-thru workers with order-taking AI and cashiers with self-checkout kiosks. Walmart is automating truck unloading, while California farms are employing robots to harvest lettuce.
Let's take a look back to look ahead. From 1990 to 2007, robots replaced about 670,000 U.S. jobs, mostly in manufacturing; every robot introduced into a local economy claimed 6.2 jobs.
Oxford University researchers concluded in a major 2013 study that 47% of American jobs are at “high risk” of automation within two decades. McKinsey Global Institute came to a similar conclusion in 2017, warning that by 2030, robots will have forced 16 million to 54 million Americans—as many as a third of U.S. workers—to retrain for a new job.
Let’s talk food. Restaurants in China have already begun replacing servers with robots. At least 91% of a short-order cook’s tasks can be automated using existing technology.
What we see here in the U.S. is that robots do have a place—but mostly behind the scenes. We are just not ready yet.