For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The Future of Employment Revisited: How Model Selection Determines Automation Forecasts"

by Stephany, Fabian; Lorenz, Hanno (2021)


The uniqueness of human labour is at question in times of smart technologies. The 250 years-old discussion on technological unemployment reawakens. Prominently, Frey and Osborne (2017) estimated that half of US employment will be automated by algorithms within the next 20 years. Other follow-up studies conclude that only a small fraction of workers will be replaced by digital technologies. The main contribution of our work is to show that the diversity of previous findings regarding the degree of job automation is, to a large extent, driven by model selection and not by controlling for personal characteristics or tasks. For our case study, we consult experts in machine learning and industry professionals on the susceptibility to digital technologies in the Austrian labour market. Our results indicate that, while clerical computer-based routine jobs are likely to change in the next decade, professional activities, such as the processing of complex information, are less prone to digital change.


Future Of Work, Technological Unemployment, Job Destruction, Worker Displacement, Frey And Osborne, Economics


Technology, Automation

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