Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Automation is going to hit workers in three waves, and the first one is already here

February 7, 2018

A report released yesterday by PwC says the near future of automation technologies will arrive in three phases. The report calls them “waves” and maps out how they’ll wash over us:

1. A flood of algorithms. Already, data analysis and simple digital tasks are becoming the purview of machines.

2. Augmentation inundation. Into the late 2020s, repeatable tasks and the exchange of information, as in financial data analysis, will come to be done by humans and automated systems working together.

3. Autonomy tsunami. Starting by the mid-2030s, machines and software will make decisions and take physical actions, like driving cars, with little or no human input.

Job impact: Focusing on the UK job market, PwC economists predict that up to 30 percent of existing jobs could be affected by the mid-2030s, with a focus on transportation, manufacturing, and retail positions. (But, as we have said before, job predictions like these are hard to trust.)

A gender divide: The study suggests that women will initially be impacted more heavily by the rise of automation, while men are more likely to feel the effects in the third wave. A good number of us, it seems, may find ourselves at sea.

Want to stay up to date on the future of work? Sign up for our newest newsletter, Clocking In!

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.