The singularity: which jobs will go?


Pretty interesting paper (pdf).

The abstract:

We examine how susceptible jobs are to computerisation. To assess this, we begin by implementing a novel methodology to estimate the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, using a Gaussian process classifier. Based on these estimates, we examine expected impacts of future computerisation on US labour market outcomes, with the primary objective of analysing the number of jobs at risk and the relationship between an occupation’s probability of computerisation, wages and educational attainment. According to our estimates, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk. We further provide evidence that wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relationship with an occupation’s probability of computerisation.

The last paragraph of the conclusion.

Finally, we provide evidence that wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relationship with the probability of computerisation. We note that this finding implies a discontinuity between the nineteenth, twentieth and the twenty-first century, in the impact of capital deepening on the relative demand for skilled labour. While nineteenth century manufacturing technologies largely substituted for skilled labour through the simplification of tasks (Braverman, 1974; Hounshell, 1985; James and Skinner, 1985; Goldin and Katz, 1998), the Computer Revolution of the twentieth century caused a hollowing-out of middle-income jobs (Goos, et al., 2009; Autor and Dorn, 2013). Our model predicts a truncation in the current trend towards labour market polarisation, with computerisation being principally confined to low-skill and low-wage occupations. Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerisation – i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.

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5 Responses to The singularity: which jobs will go?

  1. meika says:

    Please, someone comment so I can get more context… in the meantime I will actually read the paper.

  2. meika says:

    This was, however, not the result of deskilling technological change. Clerking workers were indeed relatively educated. Rather, it was the result of the supply of educated workers outpacing the demand for their skills, leading educational wage differentials to compress.

    ok, so don’t study coding/programming like UK Year of Code desires, you are better off wearing the right clothes (creative skills) at the best parties (social skills)

    • Patrick says:

      No, do study ‘coding’.

      ‘Computerisation’ will overtake what we now think of as skilled work very quickly. Your ability to deploy your creative and social skills and your multi-factor analytical abilities will depend to an increasing degree on your ability to interact with data and with the outputs of computer programs.

  3. meika says:

    They show that highskilled workers have moved down the occupational ladder, taking on jobs traditionally performed by low-skilled workers, pushing low-skilled workers even further down the occupational ladder and, to some extent, even out of the labour force.

    I work as a part time art labourer, I move things around a museum, I call it a moveum. My team leader has a fine arts PhD, first studied some practical jewellery post-school, my peers have Fine Art degrees, some with metal trade first post-school training. I have Masters of Applied science. Our group boss started as a sign writer and went to a bush rave at the right time. We are labourers with no labourers in sight.

  4. Alex Roberts says:

    Looks like it may happen at the high skill end as well… Watson is set to do cancer treatment management

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