Jobs and the Future of Work

Robots are coming, but you still have the edge

A competitor holds up one of his soccer-playing robots for the camera during the Robocup tournament in Singapore

Robots are getting better. Image: June 22, 2010. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash.

Gus Lubin
Senior Correspondent, Business Insider
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Future of Work

Robots are coming for all our jobs, but we’ve still got the edge in a few key areas.

McKinsey’s new report on the future of automation notes that humans are better than robots at: spotting new patterns, logical reasoning, creativity, coordination between multiple agents, natural language understanding, identifying social and emotional states, responding to social and emotional states, displaying social and emotional states, and moving around diverse environments.

The report named four skills where robots matched us and five where they beat us.

 Current technologies have achieved different levels of human performance across 18 capabilities
Image: McKinsey Global institute analysis

McKinsey finds that almost half of work activities globally could be automated using current technology. Of course, the robots are getting better.

Here’s a chart showing when McKinsey expects robots to pass humans on all of those skills:

 Ranges of estimated time frames to reach the next level of performance for 18 human-related performance capabilities
Image: McKinsey Global institute analysis
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Related topics:
Jobs and the Future of WorkFourth Industrial RevolutionEmerging Technologies
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