I’ve found this article from ING bank. They did a study determining how many jobs in Belgium are susceptible to be automated in the near future.
For the purpose of discussing this study I’ll give you their conclusions:
In accordance with the current technological level, 49% of Belgian jobs can be automated on long term basis.
35% of Belgian jobs has a larger chance to be automated(<70%).
Administrative clerks, salespeople and domestic help will have the highest losses of jobs.
Technological advancement will aid in freeing workers to perform other/new(!) tasks.
Automation provides an answer to increasing ageing problem, by compensating the lack of workforce.
The risk is that continuous change will be badly managed. Not accepting new technology has always slowed technological advancement
Let me start at the end. It does feel kind of obvious that the lack of acceptance and/or the greed of people slows technology. But also advances it. Bear with me, I’ll try to clarify this, using wild allegations, speculation and a good bit of criticism!
The electric car VS The fossil fuel car.
The giant car manufacturing companies and oil industry have in the past (very successfully) slowed the development of the electric car (Remember “who killed the electric car?” -consumer uncertainty or conspiracy?) Of course this wild allegation isn’t founded on proof. But you do kind of tend to feel this way don’t you? Why haven’t we seen more of electric motors in cars? Now brands like Porche en Mclaren sell their hybrids as powerhouses thanks to the incredible torque of the electric motor. Well this isn’t exactly news is it? We have been using electric motors extensively in torque-demanding scenario’s. it’s only after the popularity of the Prius and the batteries of the Tesla that we saw changes in the car industry. Although hybrids still tend to have little range on batteries alone (wouldn’t want to stop using petrol do we?).
On the other hand the ways we now are able to get giant platforms floating on the seas extracting oil, the extreme stability and performance of cars are examples of indeed technological advances. Some of them quite extreme and really innovative.
So are we slowing technologies we (or some corporations) don’t like? Most likely. Is this the way of the future? Most likely. Is that a good thing? I guess not.
But this does reflect the un-eagerness regarding technology. I think we can say the most resistance is with Elderly people, the minimum-wage-poor people and the extremely rich. All have their reasons, all equally good. Preserve our heritage and ways, fear of the unknown, fear of losing their wealth respectively. (again just guessing here of course.)
Does this mean we should slow the pace of the “slowest mover”? We do this in our laws, for example driving restrictions prevent less experienced drivers to enter in dangerous situations. Making drugs illegal tends to the safety of malleable young minds. I’m afraid this tactic is the most likely to be adopted but also the one that may prevent us from reaching a sustainable world before we damage it beyond repair.
I’ll end at the start. 49% of all Belgian jobs are going to be replaced according to the ING study. Does this seem realistic?
See you in the comments!