Much of the energy at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, centered around the promise of artificial intelligence for bottom-line impact. According to a New York Times article, company executives “are racing to automate their own workforces to stay ahead of the competition, with little regard for the impact on workers.”
According to article author Kevin Roose,
Few American executives will admit wanting to get rid of human workers, a taboo in today’s age of inequality. So they’ve come up with a long list of buzzwords and euphemisms to disguise their intent. Workers aren’t being replaced by machines, they’re being “released” from onerous, repetitive tasks. Companies aren’t laying off workers, they’re “undergoing digital transformation.”
It is expected that by next year, 72% of companies will start using machines to do work formerly done by humans. One AI technology expert estimates that 40% of the world’s jobs will be eliminated by A.I. within 15 years. Other experts are predicting an opposite trend.
The challenge for employers is navigating the conversation between the rails of political unrest and anti-elite movements on both sides of the political landscape. That’s no easy task.