Years ago you had to be concerned about the competition at the work station next to you getting ahead. Now it’s the battle of the bots and, according to some, the robots are winning.
As technology advanced, so did warnings to America’s workers who were told to prepare for almost certain replacement. Later, as the impact of automation and artificial intelligence was better understood, dire warnings were replaced by accolades and evidence that technological advances were actually helping workers rather than hindering them. Technology helped increase workflow, taking away repetitive tasks and advancing productivity.
“At first, technologists issued alarms about the power of automation and artificial intelligence to destroy jobs. Then came a correction with a wave of reassurances,” says Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.
Muro will present his research on automation, labor market trends, and the future of work at the Automation and Artificial Intelligence luncheon May 8 at Flint’s Durant-Dort Factory One
Today the discourse seems to have settled into what some might consider a greater level of understanding. Automation has brought neither apocalypse nor utopia, and delivers both benefits and stresses alike, according to Muro’s findings.
Muro will also present his research at a May 8 luncheon sponsored by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The event and ongoing conversations are being organized by the University of Michigan-Flint’s EDA University Center for Community & Economic Development and the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.
Spoiler alert: Routine physical and cognitive tasks like office administration, production, transportation and food preparation will be among jobs reported to be the most vulnerable. If your career path involves routine, physical labor or data collection and processing activities voluntary or involuntary career changes could be in your future.
“The discussion is meant to better inform and prepare the region’s workforce, employers and educational institutions for the changes ahead,” says David Mérot, senior project manager of the EDA University Center for Community and Economic Development.
Preparation will determine the outcome, determining who is in a position to become the boss of an ever-growing robotic workforce. Lack of preparation could help determine if robots are the newest bosses, or if humans still have jobs at all.
The university community will be involved in helping to identify current workforce, employment trends and resources and become a catalyst in building coalitions needed to fill in gap. Muro says that involvement is what cities like Flint need to prepare for the most dramatic shift in America’s workforce since the Industrial Revolution.
Editor’s Note: The Brookings presentation on Automation and Artificial Intelligence represents the second of a series of planned events sponsored by the C.S. Mott Foundation and collaborative partner the University of Michigan-Flint’s EDA University Center for Community & Economic Development. Each series is followed by the convening of a leadership roundtable and planned community engagement events aimed at identifying common areas of concern and need. Today, those areas include: Creating a more inclusive talent pipeline and fostering inclusive entrepreneurship. The partners expect to add additional areas of focus and related action plans by June. See TheHUB’s coverage of the first session here.
Click here to register to attend the free Automation and Artificial Intelligence luncheon on May 8. Activities will commence at 11:30 a.m.