There’s a lot of talk these days about how robots, software, and artificial intelligence will (or won’t) steal jobs. On one side of the debate you find denialists, like U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who believes that widespread impact on jobs is “50 or 100 years” away. On the other side, you find steadfast pessimists: Analysts who believe that robots will replace as many as half the jobs in the economy, like Oxford scholars Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, or Martin Ford, author of Rise of the Robots.
Each of these views holds elements of truth, but both are also fundamentally incorrect. Denialists are wrong, as automation technologies have replaced human jobs for more than a century and this trend has been accelerating for 10 years. Advancements in artificial intelligence place additional classes of jobs – in white collar roles – at risk. Yet pessimists overstate their case. The revolution won’t happen overnight: Forrester predict that by 2027, automation will have a strong impact on employment – but it won’t reach the level of a job apocalypse.