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Reading: Apprentices of Automation: Adapting Career Paths to Ever-Smarter Machines

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Apprentices of Automation: Adapting Career Paths to Ever-Smarter Machines

Authors:

Pauline Anne Chin,

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
About Pauline Anne
BSc Student
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Clotilde de Maricourt,

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
About Clotilde
BSc Student
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Nicolas Alexander Feil ,

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
About Nicolas Alexander
BSc Student
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Terry Li Xiang Zhen,

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
About Terry Li Xiang
BSc Student
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Krittika Ray

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
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BSc Student
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Abstract

This paper examines the effects of automation on seven different professional sectors, and the degree of uncertainty this creates among current and soon-to-be professionals It then looks at whether or not the individuals concerned make decisions accordingly, and if so, what the nature of these decisions are. A mixed method approach was chosen, incorporating a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. The survey investigated 106 students’ decisions regarding future career prospects and if they intend to develop skills relevant to automation. The interviews were conducted with 11 individuals working in fields affected by automation, or in which they have knowledge of the development of this technology. Comparing these two groups: workers and students entering the workforce within 0-5 years, demonstrated that students were more adaptive to automation (44% were learning to code or considering it vs 0% of professionals), despite a clear sample size limitation. Due to time constraints, a quantitative survey with professionals was not possible.

All interviewees acknowledged that automation will replace their job or change it significantly. However, only the teacher was subsequently concerned about job security. The other interviewees’ relaxed view may be explained by proximity to pension or strong unions.

So far, literature on the topic of automation has focused on the concrete effects of technological developments on professional sectors themselves as opposed to the actual perceptions and adaptation of individuals. We therefore hope that this research will work as an impetus for further research on workers’ and students’ reactions to automation. This could have implications for social policy directions linked to job protection and adaptability.

How to Cite: Chin, P.A., de Maricourt, C., Feil, N.A., Zhen, T.L.X. and Ray, K., 2018. Apprentices of Automation: Adapting Career Paths to Ever-Smarter Machines. iSCHANNEL, 13(1), pp.12–22.
Published on 06 Sep 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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