The world economy faces a massive disruption of labor. Jobs are going to machines at an alarming rate, and ramifications will alter everything we know about work. Three forces have been at work since 1990, but will soon go to warp speed. First is the Gig Economy, which is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.
Second is the automation of anything that is repetitive and can be replaced by robotics; most automobiles are now made by robots. Third is the combination of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Deep learning is a type of machine learning that trains a computer to perform human-like tasks, such as recognizing speech, identifying images or making predictions.
Because Big Data has been growing expodentially, AI and deep learning have much to work from. In 2013 SINTEF estimated that 90% of all information in the world had been created in the prior two years. Lots of data is exactly what machines need in order to learn to learn. Google’s DeepMind AI has learned how to read and comprehend what it reads through thousands of annotated news articles.
McKinsey research says that up to one-third of U. S. workers and 800 million globally could be displaced by 2030. They recommend businesses and policymakers act now to keep people employed. The single most impactful solution is to empower one and all with entrepreneurship whose innovative and creative skills can allow laborers to transit to self-employment (or to thrive as a freelancer in the Gig Economy).