The COVID-19 pandemic “is forcing many American businesses to embrace automation,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has stated in a report, warning that the United States is losing millions of jobs to machines permanently.
Jobs that cannot be carried out remotely, including customer care service, are at a greater risk of automation in this coronavirus era.
What is most disappointing is that the jobs that are being automated today will not be returned to humans even after the pandemic is over. AI-powered bots, such a s Watson Assistant, have taken over many jobs in call centers, the report added.
Machines have similarly taken over hundreds of thousands of jobs in hotels, slaughterhouses, and meat-packing factories across the country.
Automation has many forms and features, jobs are its worst victims. Earlier in June this year, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission introduced a cashless toll-collection system. As a result, the report said, 500 collectors lost their jobs.
As firms struggle to avoid shutdowns and workplace infections, automation looks to be a more attractive option than re-hiring the temporally-displaced human workers, the report noted, indicating that the longer the pandemic lasts, the larger will be the number of jobs being automated.
Considering the report, today there is a huge demand for robots in slaughterhouses. The bank says the growth of e-commerce, online education, and remote-working could be permanent.
“Just imagine that if retailers are satisfied with their experiment of conducting business online during the pandemic and decide to close more brick-and-mortar stores, more retail jobs are likely to be lost in the long run.”