AI will force up to 800M people to find new jobs by 2030: 5 things to know

An estimated 400 million to 800 million people across the globe will likely be displaced by automation and forced to find new jobs by 2030, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report.

Investigators from McKinsey Global Institute, the business and economics research arm of management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., assessed recent estimates on job losses and gains related to automation and artificial intelligence through 2030. The investigators determined up to 30 percent of hours worked globally might be automated by 2030, depending on the speed of adoption.

"It is important to note, however, that even when some tasks are automated, employment in those occupations may not decline but rather workers may perform new tasks," the researchers wrote.

Here are five things to know about global adoption of automation and AI.

1. Automation and AI will likely lead to "substantial" workplace transformation, according to the researchers. Although less than 5 percent of occupations comprise activities that will be fully automated by 2030, about 60 percent of occupations are made up of activities in which one-third could be automated.

2. However, technical feasibility is not the only important consideration for adoption of automation and AI capabilities.

"While about half of all work activities globally have the technical potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies, the proportion of work actually displaced by 2030 will likely be lower, because of technical, economic and social factors that affect adoption," according to the report.

3. The potential impact of automation and AI on employment varies by occupation and country. Jobs most "susceptible" to automation include physical activities in predictable environments, such as operating machinery, and jobs related to collecting and processing data, such as accounting, according to the researchers.

4. Automation and AI capabilities are less likely to affect jobs that relate to "managing people, applying expertise and social interactions." Low-wage jobs in unpredictable environments, including plumbers and childcare providers, are also less susceptible to automation, partially because they are difficult to automate, and partially because existing low wages make automation less attractive to hirers.

5. In spite of growing automation and AI capabilities, employment for care providers — such as physicians, nurses and social workers — is expected to grow 30 percent in the U.S. One driver of this demand is aging populations, which tend to spend more on healthcare services. The researchers estimated healthcare-related jobs will grow by between 80 million and 130 million by 2030.

To access the McKinsey report, click here.

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