By Robert Hickson 28/02/2018

I’ve written previously about how no one really has any idea about the effect of automation on jobs. Erin Winick has done the hard work to illustrate that by compiling the predictions of  numbers of jobs created or destroyed by various pundits and studies. Mostly these predictions focus on the US, with a few global predictions thrown in.

The numbers are all over the place, generally in the tens of millions. But there are also some very wild predictions from Thomas Frey that reach up into the billions, and seem to be outrageous guesses rather than sober calculations. McKinsey puts in a bit more work, but also gets up to near a billion for both jobs destroyed and created globally in 2030.

If you like looking at tables see Erin’s short article in MIT Technology Review, where there are also links to the reports. For those that like a visual version, I’ve drawn a crappy version, to illustrate some of the data. Intentionally so, to show that you shouldn’t put too much weight on such crystal ball gazing.


Thinking about the impacts of continuing automation is important. Predictions about job numbers not so much. Think more about what needs to be done to ensure equitable and dignified lives.

Featured image: Hunter Haley on Unsplash