The losers will be those who work to live, those who simply go to work every day to carry out tasks that do not satisfy them at all.
Three American entrepreneurs founded Marble two years ago. In the heat of cars driving alone, they saw an opportunity in short-distance logistics.
Based on robotics, artificial intelligence, GPS and endless new technologies they created a robot that, seen from the outside, looks like a simple ice-cream cart. But that is able to move around the city by itself.
“Our long-term goal is to reduce costs and ensure that it is useful in every city in the world,” one of Marble’s founders, Matthew Delaney, told AFP. It may be the end of urban couriers and delivery agents.
Messaging, as the final link in logistics, transport and distribution, was already featured in the seminal report of 2013 by two Oxford University professors, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, on the future of work and listed more than 700 occupations and their degree of susceptibility to computerization and automation, making the humans who perform them until now dispensable.
Carriers, clerks, librarians, officials … but also insurance agents, secretaries, watchmakers, bankers …
“As machines learn to do more things, they also make them better and better, much better than people, and at a lower cost, to think that there will be more employment of the type we know today as employment is simply absurd “, says the professor of IE Business School, Enrique Dans.
“If we restrict employment to what we know today as such, forget it: there will be much less. But what we have to think about is that we are going to a world where many people will do things that today we would not consider employment, but they will be,” he adds.
Last December, the White House, still chaired by Barack Obama, published a report on the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on the US economy.
Along with promises of economic growth and new job sites, it also noted that the jobs most threatened by the new wave of technologies have one thing in common: in general, they are the lowest paid and the least qualified.
Dans explains it this way:
“Losers will be the ones who work to live, those who simply go to work every day to perform tasks that do not satisfy them at all, but that they need to do to obtain money that is essential to them. These jobs, in their vast majority, will disappear and will be replaced by machines whenever there is an economic interest to make them more efficient and competitive. ”
This destructive side of technology is the first thing people see. The REIsearch project, promoted by the Atomium – European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy, has just launched a large public survey calling on Europeans about the impact of the new generation of internet technologies on the different aspects of life, from employment to politics.
Although the survey has only been running for a few days, only 10% agree or strongly agree with the statement that the digitization of the economy will offer “meaningful employment for all, and will generate wages equivalent or higher than the current ones.”
However, more than half of the future’s employment is yet to be invented, according to various studies. And the machines will not be able to do many other jobs.
Professor Frey from Oxford explained that there will be at least three areas that will remain human.
“It will be creativity, the development of new ideas and artifacts, the most complex social interactions, where people negotiate, persuade or manage equipment, and the third has to do with the perception and manipulation of irregular objects.”
The wave of technological innovations is not only putting work backward, it is also altering businesses and business sectors that had adapted well to the first technological changes, those of the end of the last century.
The biggest impact is taking place at the platforms of the so-called collaborative economy like Uber, eBay or TaskRabbit. One of them is Airbnb, which allows individuals to offer rooms or houses for a few days.
Airbnb today has an offer of more than two million rooms in 34,000 cities in 190 countries. Neither the top 10 hotel chains in the world have an equal offer.
A study promoted by the Foundation for Innovation Cotec, Adigital, the Spanish association of the digital economy, the Circle of Entrepreneurs and the Foundation of Financial Studies, is being finalised and an ample report will be made public on this type of platforms and their impact on the economy and the sectors that can be most affected by the end of their intermediation.
Although their results will not be known for a few weeks, they believe they will allow an in-depth discussion, with data, of what needs to be regulated and to what extent for these new phenomena to take advantage of the whole society.
Otherwise, in case the balance of the impact of technology on humans is negative, a reaction may occur. “Technological creativity depends to a large extent on those political structures that allow us to progress.
“If the majority do not feel that they do not benefit from these structures, they will go against it in some way or another.” For the Oxford professor, this explains in part the rise of populism in Europe and the USA:
“If we look at the outcome of the US election, we see that the Republican candidate -Donald Trump- was supported by the places that have been the most susceptible to automation in recent years. People are worried about the future of those regions and their desire for change.”