Automation could kill 800 million jobs within about 15 years

That's a lot of jobs.

Robot at work

According to a new analysis from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, around 800 million jobs could disappear worldwide by the year 2035.

The report explains that part of the reason for this is the cost of automating jobs has been declining. There was a 27 percent decrease in the cost of automation between 2005 to 2014, and the cost is expected to decrease by roughly 22 percent by 2025.

The analysts claim that robots are getting much better at being able to complete certain tasks, so the kind of jobs that can be automated is growing. They claim “office and service sector tasks” are going to increasingly be automated.

There are geopolitical issues to consider when we’re looking at automation, the analysts write. They claim it appears as if China is prepared to outpace the United States.

“We believe the current trade war will transition towards a tech war in the 2020s, which will see a new ‘arms race’ between the U.S. and China to reach national superiority in technology over the long term vis-a-vis quantum computing, big data, 5G, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, robotics, and cybersecurity etc,” they wrote.

See also: McDonald’s Is Going to Automate Its Drive-Thru With A.I.

This isn’t the first report to predict the kind of job losses Bank of America Merrill Lynch is predicting. Back in 2017, a study from McKinsey Global Institute found 800 million jobs could be lost by as soon as 2030. That report said over 70 million jobs could be lost in the U.S. alone.

Though it’s important to pay attention to these kinds of predictions—because we want to be prepared for whatever may come from automation—it’s also important to remember that these kinds of predictions are often wrong. Some are off by a lot, and some are off by a little. Automation will have a major impact on economies around the world, but we won’t know exactly how large the impact will be until it happens.

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