The Parts of America Most Susceptible to Automation

Excerpt from The Atlantic — May 2017

The authors estimate that almost all large American metropolitan areas may lose more than 55 percent of their current jobs because of automation in the next two decades. “We felt it was really stunning, since we are underestimating the probability of automation,” said Johannes Moenius, the director of the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis at the University of Redlands, which prepared the report.

The power of machine learning means that programmers with large data sets can use them to make machines smarter, allowing them to do non-routine tasks; for example, oncologists are using data from medical journals and patient records to automatically create treatment plans for cancer patients. “It is largely already technologically possible to automate almost any task, provided that sufficient amounts of data are gathered for pattern recognition,” the authors write…

While a handful of cities with good jobs and highly educated workers will continue to thrive, other areas are going to see more and more jobs disappear as automated technologies become ever better. This may have much wider implications, politically and socially. People in America’s struggling regions feel left behind economically, as the 2016 election indicated. But the anger that motivated many voters in November may pale in comparison to what comes next, if some regions see two-thirds of their jobs disappear while other areas continue to thrive…