At present, more and more Americans are required to stay at home to avoid contact with other people and other things. With the rapid spread of new coronaviruses in the United States, social connections and supply chains have been destroyed on a large scale. In the workplace, there is a way to solve these two problems at the same time: a group of "new colleagues" who are immune to the new coronavirus are ready to replace the American workforce.
These "new colleagues" are, more robots!
Although many bosses have proposed a new willingness to allow at least some employees to work remotely, no one seems to be talking about the heavyweight employees of the robot. As we all know, robots have had a devastating effect on the US job market.
Robots will replace thousands of jobs. For example, Citigroup pointed out that "tens of thousands" of call center employees have been replaced.
As early as 2017, the bank warned that more than half of its employees will be replaced.
Consulting giant McKinsey said in May that with the increase in the number of robots, the number of front-end employees will be reduced by nearly 1/3, and these bankers and traders have traditionally been regarded as the most valuable assets of financial companies.
Last year, Citigroup pointed out that "tens of thousands" of call center employees will be replaced. In May of the same year, consulting giant McKinsey stated that it is expected that as the number of robots increases, the number of front-end employees in the United States will decrease by nearly one-third.
However, a sudden outbreak of a new coronavirus can help robots replace Americans at a faster rate.
In 2017, Oxford University published a research report, which was widely cited afterwards. In the report, Oxford University provides a calculation that can be used to calculate the share of technically automated jobs in the next 15 years. Drawing on this research package report, Professor Johannes Moenius, director of the Space Economic Analysis Institute at the University of Redlands, calculated the employment and wage risks for these industries.
Twenty years ago, Moannis believed that many jobs that have direct contact with customers are unlikely to be expected by robots, because customers value direct contact between people. However, a sudden and popular new coronavirus has become a human tragedy. Research shows that the most affected people will permanently change their behavior. This means that some customers at any time, and almost all customers at some point, will attach importance to avoid personal contact. This will greatly change people's preferences and services provided by restaurants.
Greater automation, coupled with more powerful robots
and computers, can help the economy become more immune to future disease epidemics. The popularity of automation has had a particularly significant impact on two industries of recent concern: the necessities industry, including most manufacturing supply chains and industries that have direct contact with customers, are called "high-exposure" industries. It should be noted that there is overlap between these two industries. For example, about half of the "high exposure" industry is considered necessary.
About 54% of jobs in the United States belong to industries defined by the Department of Homeland Security as essential industries, of which 67% are susceptible to automation. Because of this, the wages of these jobs are very low, such as retail and warehousing, and the risk of being replaced by robots is the highest. In contrast, "high-risk" industries account for 46% of jobs, 57% of which are susceptible to automation.
Now, let us rethink the requirements of social isolation: no meeting, no contact. In particular, these measures will affect some "highly exposed" industries, such as the catering, retail and entertainment industries. According to a study by Oxford University, by 2035, we will see 86% of catering jobs, 76% of retail jobs and 59% of entertainment jobs replaced by automation.
Many companies, especially large companies, are considering rehiring employees. They will carefully consider whether a machine can complete a job. The production capacity of robots
is getting higher and higher, and the prices are getting cheaper. Risk awareness will enhance the cost advantage. The use of robots is becoming more and more attractive to businesses.
At present, some automation technologies are already in the advanced testing stage, or are readily available. Once the e-commerce giant Amazon (Amazon) began to authorize its AmazonGo technology, our current understanding of retail will be limited to small stores, as long as they can survive.
Ford Motor Company has launched a prototype of a driverless express, which includes a robot that can transport goods from the car to the user's doorstep. The American auto giant is targeting a multi-billion dollar market. ABB, the world's leading supplier of industrial robots, has installed more than 400,000 industrial robots. It is estimated that these robots have replaced more than 2 million workers.
Robot baristas, as well as Starbucks self-service coffee machines and smart cafes, may provide early options for those who want to avoid direct contact. This does not mean that the barista will not be able to find work, but the self-service station will not only be used by those who hate bacteria, once they spread from the office area to the public space, the number of physical coffee shops will naturally decrease.
Monis expects that in the next three to five years, automation will be as popular in fast food restaurants as in factories.
The automation environment has never been so good: ultra-low interest rates, workers in many sectors are performing repetitive tasks and creating low added value, patents involving artificial intelligence show exponential growth, low corporate taxes, and interest in venture capital companies is turning to process automation (ie Robots and machines). All of this shows that in the key industries that can be automated, the acceleration of the adoption of automation technology has about 50 million jobs and annual salaries of more than $ 1. Therefore, the motivation of enterprises to adopt automation technology is huge.
There is no doubt that it will take some time for capital expenditures of American companies to recover, but once recovered, it will focus on technologies to protect key industries, including the supply chain, from a new wave of viruses. At the same time, the needs of customers who are more willing to enjoy social isolation must also be met.
The newly emerging coronavirus epidemic has affected the supply and demand in the United States and other countries in the world. It will also accelerate and change a technological shock that has been brewing for more than a decade. Companies that do not reduce the vulnerability of future viruses may find themselves at a disadvantage. Similarly, companies that cannot improve their skills to meet new job requirements will find themselves at a disadvantage.
All in all, the labor required by US companies during and after the economic recovery may be different from those that had to apply for unemployment benefits because they were fired.