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"Maybe half of those jobs will go because
people will reskill. Instead of 10 people, we
only need five because the robot or the AI
system can do the other tasks." The data
when you start breaking it down by component tasks says that about 10 to 15% of jobs
will go within the next 20 years.

Q The pattern has been jobs are displaced,

COVID-19 is accelerating the end of the 'in
the office, one manager, nine-to-five' job.

changed and created. How can we ensure
every American can access a meaningful
job in a post-COVID-19 era?
A The data says there are many job categories that will increase over the next 20
years. If you make an assumption that in 15
years there will be hundreds of thousands
of people in the U.S., and millions across
the world employed in jobs that don't exist
right now, you start to get a clear picture of
no net job losses. It's the net that is important because there will be job losses - 10
to 15%. Upwards of 25 million people in
the U.S. will have their jobs displaced, and
I would argue, we have a responsibility to
provide the retraining necessary.

Q What are your predictions for the

Esch Collection/Getty Images

economy. It's such a tiny thing. On-demand
workers are simply workers that are not W-2
employees. This includes temp and freelance workers, which in a corporate context
amounts to tens of billions of dollars. It
is consumer interactions driven by Uber,
Lyft, DoorDash, TaskRabbit, and all those
companies, but they are so minor compared
to corporate labor force management and
the on-demand labor that is creating an
agile workforce. Everyone should know
that 25-30% of the labor force works in an
on-demand capacity. That has been the size
of the on-demand labor force for the past 20
or 30 years. And the idea that because Uber
came along, it's new, is ridiculous.

Q What pressures do on-demand
workers face?
A On-demand workers face almost total
responsibility for their health care, retirement, training and skill development.
Remote work is another big component of
the on-demand labor lifestyle. And lastly, ondemand work is task-based work - the idea
that it's not just, "Hey, you're going to be my
freelancer for the next bit." It's, "I need you
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to do this task, at this time, for this amount
of money, and then you're done." So, when I
write about the rise of on-demand workers,
I'm not saying that everyone's going to be
an Uber driver - far from it. I'm saying the
things that the Uber driver worries about
also permeate the full-time labor force.

Q Many reports project automation will
displace millions of jobs. How do you interpret their findings?
A It is important to study and understand
what we call the task-based componentry
of a job. Oxford University did a great job
of this. Their study said, "40% of jobs are
susceptible to automation." That headline
meant, oh no, Oxford says 40% of jobs are
going away. But, that's not what Oxford said.
They broke down 702 different job categories and looked at the component tasks of
those jobs. If a job has 50% or more of its
component tasks that are automatable -
tasks that are repetitive and high-volume
- then that job is susceptible to automation. But it's not until you get to about 75%
of automatable tasks that you say, "That job
definitively will go." At 50%, you start to say,

Future of Work?
I lay out what I call the Skynet scenario,
which is the doom of mankind. I lay out
the Rosie Jetson scenario, which is this
beautiful utopia where robots are doing
our mundane tasks and the cost of goods
go down and we have to work few hours.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. We
will end up in a Rosie Jetson scenario, not
in the next 20 years, but it will happen. This
transition is difficult and it's important to
remember that times like now are when
mass changes usually happen in labor statistics and when there's a huge economic
dislocation. The future is hard to predict.
I put forward this framework of looking at
historic trends and data in order to make
predictions, but I don't pretend that I have a
crystal ball. In the book, I've asked 20 of the
greatest thinkers on the future of work to
write essays on their visions of the world of
work in 2040. But the future is ours to create. We get to decide as a society. We don't
just sit and wait for the future to unfold. The
people I've interviewed, and the people
who are a part of your industry, are shaping
this future, and so we get a large say in how
these things unfold.




9/1/20 10:32 AM


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