In a recent report, Forrester projected that 24.7 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2027. The research firm updated its future of jobs research to take into account how robots, automation, and artificial intelligence will impact the workforce over the next decade. While the findings indicate a job loss of 17% between 2017 and 2027, Forrester estimated that new technology will also create 14.9 million new jobs in the next decade -- equivalent to 10% of the workforce through 2027.
That data point of almost 25 million jobs lost is a bit disturbing. And while most readers of this column are in the digital marketing, media, and advertising worlds where automation tends to mean automated media buying, i.e., programmatic media, as well as software, algorithms, and the like, the trend is unfurling across all consumer and B2B sectors.
It’s happening within the auto industry, booking and reservations, shipping and receiving, travel, and consumer goods. Have you ever seen robots make pizzas? They’re doing that now, so even the men and women who work the lines in quick service restaurants may not be making them for much longer.
What are the implications of this “automation nation”? Where is the work for human eyes, ears, hands, and judgement? In digital advertising, at least, there’s a bit of recalibration underway, as real human beings are reviewing ad content, manually, to determine whether it’s appropriate or not. This, after an outcry by marketers whose ads were showing up on YouTube next to offensive content. This human touch is important, though it won’t stop the race to automation. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.