Automation has been happening for over 200 years. So far, it has created a lot more work than it replaced. Will Industry 4.0 be different?.

Industry 4.0

Historically machines have created far more jobs than they have replaced, but this time will be different says MIT’s Andrew McAfee, author of the book The Second Machine Age. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) – in short, Industry 4.0 – machines are quickly getting better at performing both manual and cognitive tasks without much human intervention. In the past machines have augmented human labor, according to McAfee, “Now, they are replacing it.”

Oxford economists Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne published a widely-noted study on the effects of automation in 2013. It concluded that up to 47 percent of jobs in the USA are at high risk of being made redundant. Subsequent studies predicted similar figures for other countries.

This would be very worrying. But is it true?