As automation becomes a bigger and bigger buzzword across business sectors, many workers—especially CPAs—are wondering what’s in store for their jobs. The uncertain situation is additionally stressful because it’s hard to separate facts about the future of automation’s impact from (science) fiction.
“Of course many attempt to predict the impact on jobs. You can come up with frameworks using dimensions of cognitive and physical complexity of jobs, productivity increases offered by robotics and artificial intelligence [AI], and technology adoption rates—but these are estimates and predictions at best” for jobs that might be replaced by automation, said Alanna Klassen Jamjoum, director of digital transformation at global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
A lot of research reflects this combination of anxiety and confusion. Just one example: A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center said that 65% of Americans expect that within 50 years robots will be doing much of the work now done by humans—but 80% believe it will happen to other people’s jobs, not their own.