Robots are taking over Japan, as analysts have predicted that almost half of all jobs in the country could be conducted by robots sometime within the next 10 to 20 years. This could lead to massive layoffs in the rapidly-advancing country.
Researcher at Nomura Research Institute (NRI) Yumi Wakao said, “We did the same kind of analysis in Japan that Professor Michael Osborne from Oxford University carried out in the UK and the US. We found that up to 49 percent of jobs could be replaced by computer systems. However, this is only a hypothetical technical calculation. It doesn’t take into account social factors.”
Recently, NRI published a new report in which researchers studied more than 600 jobs in Japan. The report was conducted in collaboration with Oxford University. The report focused on how likely it was that any given job would become automated and no longer require human intervention. While Japan does have a shrinking population, it is still somewhat troubling that many jobs could be replaced.
The researchers wrote, “Due to a shrinking population, labor shortages are predicted for Japan. We’re looking at the social repercussions of attempting to preserve the labor force by introducing AI and robots into it.”
Luckily for human workers, there are still many jobs that are unlikely to be replaced. Jobs that mandate high levels of creativity, compassion and abstract thoughts are unlikely to be replaced any time soon. However, jobs that require repetitive tasks could easily be conducted by robots instead of humans.
Wakao said, “Service jobs that require creativity, communication, empathy, or negotiation will be hard to replace with computerization. In the report, the researchers comment that the Japanese are good at jobs in these industries, and that if other sectors could be automated, it would free more people to do such jobs.”
The jobs that are most likely to become automated include taxi drivers, data entry positions, security officers and receptionists. These jobs are said to require little creativity, and they can generally be performed using automated technology. Some of these jobs are already being trialed in Japan. For instance, a robot has been developed to serve as the receptionist at the Henn-na Hotel.
So ready or not, it looks like the robot revolution is coming sooner than we had expected.