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Humans VS Robots: Will our jobs be compromised?

Artificial Intelligence

Whether you chat with a chatbot, sort your photos on Facebook, translate a Bulgarian author into French or that you take a seat in an autonomous car, you start to get used to live alongside machines animated by an artificial intelligence (IA). For five years, this old fantasy has become "the" unavoidable subject.

Born in the 1950s, this scientific discipline enters more and more concretely into our daily lives. Its rapid development feeds hopes and fascinations but raises many concerns.

The threat of a human getting replaced by a machine is often the main reason why the human race is still digesting this movie like phenomena. The discussion is of particular interest to major auditing firms and research institutes, which regularly publish studies and reports on a phenomenon that is nothing other than automation. None are totally neutral in this debate: some may seek to obtain or maintain grants for their research departments with a hot topic, others to sell consulting services to new clients.

From one study to another, we can go from an alarmist event to a marginal phenomenon. A strategic consulting firm, Roland Berger, had written in 2014 that by 2025, 20% of tasks could be automated, threatening 3 million French employees in the sectors of agriculture, construction, business services and to individuals ...

But his methodology was based on the work of two Oxford researchers in 2013, which did not take into account the jobs created by robotization and considered that within the same profession, each job is done in the same way. The scientific community had strongly criticized it.

Several public bodies came to question these claims. the US Bureau of Labor is advancing as well as indicators of automation correlated with rising unemployment are actually falling in the United States. Some studies like the International Federation of Robotics or Center for Economic Performance said robots are creating jobs in the industry. In May 2016, OECD experts decided that only 9% of French workers would be "at high risk of substitution" by artificial intelligence. At the beginning of 2017, the conclusions of the Employment Policy Board's report went in the same direction: "less than 10% of jobs combine vulnerabilities that could threaten their existence in the context of automation", i.e. a threat indirectly for 1.49 million employees and not triple or five times.

Even these cautious estimates are to be taken with the tweezers, as the diffusion factors of AI in the coming years are subject to uncertainties: the economic cost of technology compared to gains in productivity, quality or well-being at work, issues of physical safety of employees or legal risk for employers and insurers, are still uncertain and hinder the adoption of AI .

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