Back in 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that with technological change and improvements in productivity, we’d only be working 15 hours a week by now. But while working hours have declined by 26 percent, most of us still average 42.5 hours a week, according to Eurostat figures.
One of the things Keynes underestimated is the human desire to compete with our peers – a drive that makes most of us work more than we need to.
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The pandemic has accelerated the move towards automation and artificial intelligence, especially for jobs with high physical proximity – from Amazon developing delivery drones to self-driving cabs. By 2050, 40-50 percent of current jobs will be lost to automation.
There are exceptions. Jobs that involve complex social interactions are beyond current robot skills: so teaching, social care, nursing and counselling are all likely to survive the AI revolution. As are jobs that rely on creativity. The same also goes for cleaning jobs, due to the multitude of different objects cleaners encounter and the variety of ways those objects need to be dealt with.
Interestingly, areas of the workplace traditionally dominated by women won’t be so easily adopted by AI.future, just differently. Women are still shouldering three-quarters of all unpaid care work and doing 40 percent more household chores according to the ONS. Robots are unlikely to assist in the ‘work’ of childrearing, preparing lunchboxes and doing the laundry.
Those whose work falls outside the caring/cleaning/creative realms will still work in the
Nearly a century ago, British economist John Keynes predicted this generation would only work 15 hours a week.
In 1890, workers worked an average of 60 hours per week. By 1890, the average working hours dropped to 37. However, by the 1970s, the downward trend of working hours had turned around, and today, American workers average 47 work hours in a week.
Economists have been long worried that automation will take away our jobs. As old kinds of jobs disappear due to technology and automation, new kinds of work started emerging.
The rising cases of stress and burnout due to more hours of work is contrary to what should have happened due to automation: less working hours.
When we're talking about robots taking people's jobs, we're speaking of automation.
Mechanical automation, like car assembly lines, has been around for a while.
Software automation, also known as process or work automation, involves using code to automate tasks that humans would otherwise have to do, like creating an invoice in an accounting program.
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