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The Robots Aren’t Coming—They’re Here

Prepare your children.

In February 2016, White House economists forecasted (based on 2010 wages) an 83% probability that workers earning less than $20 per hour would lose their jobs to automation. Wage earners who receive up to $40 an hour face a 31% chance they’ll be replaced by robots. In addition, workers who earned more than $40 an hour face much lower odds — about 4% — of having their jobs “automated into obsolescence.”

Previously, people built Henry Ford’s cars. Instead, robots now build cars for Elon Musk.

Indeed, an Oxford Study predicts that about half of US jobs are “at risk” of automation by 2033. But, why so many so quickly?

We identified several key bottlenecks currently preventing occupations from being automated. As big data helps to overcome these obstacles, a great number of jobs will be put at risk.

Additionally, ChatGPT’s arrival only accelerates the timeline and increases the risk of countless jobs being automated.

Scott Santens, founding member of the Economic Security Project, writes, “It’s routine, manual work that Henry Ford paid people middle-class wages to perform, and it’s routine cognitive work that once filled American office buildings. That world is dwindling, leaving only two kinds of jobs with rosy outlooks: jobs that require so little thought that they pay next to nothing, and jobs that require so much thought that the salaries are exorbitant.” 

Don’t be scared. Be motivated. Competition makes us better.

So let’s arm our children with the skills and knowledge necessary to compete against racing technology. Research shows us four proven pathways to that end: a two-year college degree, a four-year college degree with minimal debt, certification in a trade, or enlistment in the military. The future is difficult to predict due to the pace of change, but true skills and knowledge attained affordably will help future adults compete more effectively.

As educators, parents, and students, let’s champion turning our youngest generation into two- and four-year college graduates with minimal debt, certified tradespeople, or members of the military. Good grades, test scores, and college counseling help attain one of these four goals after high school. However, embracing these goals and regularly explaining their life-changing importance will help instill the motivation necessary to get there.

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