Automation impact will be global

Automation impact will be global

China, India and the U.S. lead the worldwide potential for automation.

Almost half of the work activities in all sectors across the economy have the potential to be automated.

Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learnings inspire to think about a future where the automation of most activities is possible, improving performance, reducing errors and achieving outcomes that go beyond the human capabilities. And by analyzing technical, economic and social factors, China, Japan, India, the United States, Brazil and Indonesia lead in the list of worldwide potential for automation.

Robot sales have spiked since 2014 (where last data is available), selling over 225,000 units in places like China, Japan and the U.S., as none of them settled for less than 25,000 industry robots, boosting a 29% for a market that is just getting started in reaching its full potential.

© McKinsey

Even though the future looks at an inevitable change to an automated environment, benefits, productivity potential, investments and place policies are still being analyzed by company leaders who have automation in mind. However, for certain countries like India, Mexico an Bangladesh, to say a few, where abundant cheap labor, flanking labor laws and cultural differences have their say, automation makes no economic sense, therefore, it is still an impact that is waiting to implode, knowing this trend is inevitable.

Automation could come easier for advanced economies rather than emerging ones, as wage levels and integration solutions are higher and that plays a big role in the speed a country is capable of embracing the automation evolution. So, what does it take to make automation economically viable in emerging countries? Localized innovation, cheaper solutions, accelerated policy measures and a higher knowledge and education on technology could speed up the automation pace, nevertheless, not having wage distribution fairly similar to real estate, rental, leasing, health care and social assistance, emerging economies will continue lacking.


Automation impact will be global, whether it be for emerging or developed economies, as it could account for over 50% of working hours in two-thirds of the world´s countries by 2036, as a McKinsey Global Institute Report showed; just in the U.S., industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, retail, education services, administrative support, construction, among others, show a notorious potential in being part of the automation process, as almost one-fifth of time spent in the workplaces within these industries involves predictable physical activity.

The decade of adoption is now, although economic feasibility is still being discussed, automation is already happening around us, as social networking, apps, hardware, software and cloud-based technologies are already setting the tone for a future of automation deployment, where machines have the ability to carry out specific workplace activities and task solutions.

Though it is true that only a handful of jobs could be automated with current technologies, the workplace continues to change, and automation is a big one to keep in mind.