Source: HBR, Feb 2017
half of the activities people are paid to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated using current technology. The most automatable activities involve data collection, data processing, and physical work in predictable environments like factories, which make up 51% of employment activities (not jobs) and $2.7 trillion of wages in the U.S. These activities are most prevalent in sectors such as manufacturing, food services, transportation and warehousing, and retail.
More occupations will change than will be automated in the short to medium term. Only a small proportion of all occupations (about 5%) can be entirely automated using these demonstrated technologies over the coming decade, though the proportion is likely to be higher in middle-skill job categories.
But we found that about 30% of the activities in 60% of all occupations could be automated — and that will affect everyone from welders to landscape gardeners to mortgage brokers to CEOs. We estimate that about 25% of CEOs’ time is currently spent on activities that machines could do, such as analyzing reports and data to inform decisions.
Like President Johnson in the 1960s, we see that automation could make a major contribution to productivity and prosperity. Our research suggests that future automation could raise productivity growth globally from 0.8%–1.4% annually, which can make a meaningful contribution to global economic growth and compensate for the demographic headwinds of aging populations. For companies around the world, automation will offer the potential to capture