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Dispelling anxiety about robots has become a major preoccupation of business apologetics.The headline example is the driverless car. If cars can drive themselves, what will happen to chauffeurs, taxi drivers and so on?Either way, there is no reason to expect a net loss of human jobs – or anything but continual improvements in living standards.According to an invaluable report by the McKinsey Global Institute, about 50 percent of time spent on human work activities in the global economy could theoretically be automated today, though current trends suggest a maximum of 30 percent by 2030, depending mainly on the speed of adoption of new technology.By 2030, MGI estimates, 400-800 million individuals will need to find new occupations, some of which don't yet exist.This rate of job displacement is not far out of line with previous periods. If robots can actually replace, not just displace, humans, it is hard to see an equilibrium point until the human race itself becomes redundant.The MGI report rejects such a gloomy conclusion. Finally, there is the assumption running through the report that automation is not just desirable, but irreversible.
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