Automation is happening in both industrial and commercial settings across the globe. In the United States, the increase in automation over manual labor is on pace to take close to 35% of jobs in the next couple of decades.
The total amount of money being replaced by both robotic workers, and the decreased need for employees in all employment sectors, comes out to around $5.1 trillion per year by 2037. Even now, automation has kept about $1 trillion from the workforce just for 2016. That represents a little over 7% of all U.S. income currently, which will rise to about 30% (barring extreme technological advancements) in 20 years.
Overwhelmingly, the amount of money saved by employers will go straight to the hands of those who are already multi-millionaires (anyone with a net worth of over $2 million). This may cause an already top-heavy wealth distribution system to become even more top-heavy. Almost all of the savings (around 98% with the other 2% benefiting non-millionaires) will add to the business’ bottom line, which ultimately will benefit those who already have deep pockets.
These new calculations underscore the point that while automation will likely make everyone’s lives easier, it can lead to a substantial loss of income for a large segment of the population.
While the majority of the workforce will still be employed in 20 years, the creation of new jobs will probably slow down noticeably as attrition gradually leads to fewer people in the workplace. Those most at risk of losing their livelihood include retail workers, professional drivers and factory workers.