Report: 25 Percent of US Jobs at Risk of Being Lost to Machines
3 hours ago
HSBC Bank welcomes SoftBank Robotics' humanoid robot, Pepper, to their team at the Fifth Ave branch on Monday, June 25, 2018 in New York. (Mark Von Holden/AP Images for HSBC)
A new report predicts up to 25 percent of American jobs face a “high risk” of disappearing due to future machine automation.
The report was recently released by the Washington-based Brookings Institution. Researchers identified about 36 million U.S. jobs as having “high exposure” to automation.
Among jobs facing the greatest risk are those in office administration, production, transportation and food preparation, the report says. Jobs in these fields may be replaced with technology driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Mark Muro is a senior fellow at Brookings and the lead writer of the report. He told the Associated Press that people in these jobs will need to react to these changes to survive. “That population is going to need to upskill, reskill or change jobs fast,” he said.
In this Jan. 15, 2019, file photo a robot named Marty cleans the floors at a Giant grocery store in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Muro said some of the jobs could disappear quickly -- within a few years. Others could last another 20.
Smaller cities and communities at risk
The report predicts job losses to machines will be greater in smaller cities and communities, especially in parts of the U.S. Midwest.
The highest job risk is expected to be in Indiana and Kentucky. Both states have some communities where nearly half of workers are employed in the manufacturing and transportation industries. Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa are also expected to suffer large losses.
On the other hand, large cities in the U.S. northeast -- including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston -- will see much lower job losses to machines.
In this Dec. 5, 2018, photo, pods full of merchandise are moved around the floor by robotic drives, named Amazon robots, at the Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Young, male, uneducated, and Hispanics
Young people who work in the food services industry and other low-skilled jobs face an especially high risk for automation.
Mark Muro said jobs aimed at assisting the public will increasingly be turned over to robot helpers. “Restaurants will be able to get along with significantly reduced workforces,” he said. “In the hotel industry, instead of five people manning a desk to greet people, there’s one, and people basically serve themselves.”
Underrepresented minority groups are also likely to be affected by machine automation. “Young workers and Hispanics will be especially exposed,” the report predicts.
Among the jobs with the lowest risk of being lost to automation are in business, engineering, social services, education and management, the report found.
In this May 3, 2018, file photo a worker lifts a lunch bowl off the production line at Spyce, a restaurant which uses a robotic cooking process, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Some economists believe machine automation has an overall good effect on the labor market. Matias Cortes is an assistant professor at York University in Toronto, Canada. He was not involved in the Brookings report.
Cortes told the AP that automation can create economic growth, reduce prices and increase demand. He also said new jobs can be created to make up for those that disappear.
However, he added that there are likely to be “clear winners and losers.” In the recent past, those hardest hit were men with low levels of education who held manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs. Two main groups of women were also affected: those with lower levels of education and those working in administrative positions not requiring high skills.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on the Brookings Institution report, the Associated Press and Reuters. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
How do you think machine automation will affect your current job or future career plans? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.
Quiz - Report: 25 Percent of US Jobs at Risk of Being Lost to Machines
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Germany Aims to End Coal Use by 2038 at the Latest
3 hours ago
In this January 6, 2019 file photo water vapor rises from the cooling towers of the Joenschwalde coal-fired power plant of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG) in Brandenburg, Germany. (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)
A German government-appointed group has proposed that Germany stop burning coal to make electricity by the year 2038 at the latest. The proposal is part of the nation’s efforts to slow a general warming in Earth’s atmosphere, often called climate change.
The German group, called the Coal Commission, reached a deal early Saturday following months of debate. Other coal-dependent countries were closely watching the negotiations.
Germany gets more than a third of its electricity from burning coal, which creates large amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to climate change.
The 28-member commission represents mining areas, power companies, scientists and environmental activists. The group suggested that its decision be reconsidered in 2032. That could bring forward the elimination of coal burning to as soon as 2035.
The plan calls for billions in federal spending to help affected areas deal with the economic effects, and to protect industry and the public from higher electricity prices. The move away from coal will also require major changes to Germany’s power system, the commission members said.
The decision still needs government approval.
Johan Rockstroem is the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. He told the Associated Press that the whole world is watching how Germany deals with the decision. The German economy is based on industry and engineering, and is the fourth largest economy in the world.
The plan calls for Germany’s coal-burning power stations to slowly suspend operations to reduce the production of greenhousegases. Currently, Germany’s coal plants produce the largest amount of carbon dioxide of any country in Europe.
The commission’s plan leaves open which plants should be closed first. The plan says it is a decision the government needs to negotiate with the plants’ operators, the German news agency dpa reported.
The commission suggests that in the next 10 years, the government should help create up to 5,000 new jobs in the affected areas whenever coal mining is discontinued. These regions are in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. They should also get federal support totaling $45.6 billion over the next 20 years.
Germany has agreed on an “energy transition” that involves exchanging fossil fuelswith renewable resources, such as wind power and energy from the sun.
Last year, renewables provided more energy to Germany than coal for the first time ever. But removing coal from power production entirely is proving much more difficult.
The reduction in coal will require an increase in renewable resources. And — at least for now — the country will have to burn more natural gas, which produces about half the amount of greenhouse gases as coal.
The environmental activist group Greenpeace wants all coal plants closed by 2030. It praised the commission’s decision, saying Germany finally has a plan for how it can become coal-free.” But the group also said the measures were not large and fast enough.
Other environmental groups welcomed the commission’s suggestion that the Hambach Forest in western Germany should be saved. The ancient woodland was at the center of anti-coal protests last year.
Energy company RWE’s plans to cut down half of the Hambach Forest to expand a mine led to demonstrations. For months, protesters prevented workers from entering the area.
I’m Pete Musto.
Kirsten Grieshaber reported this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
How energy dependent on coal is your country? How do you feel about your country’s dependence on coal? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
second-hand – used in the past by someone else; not new
upcycled – new things made of old or unwanted articles or materials
broken-down – object that doesn't work anymore
handmade – object made by people rather than machines in factories
worn-out – object which is damaged by too much use
What guarantees a steady stream of items to recycle?
This shopping mall in Sweden may look pretty normal. But look closely at the items for sale in its fourteen specialist shops. You'll realise there's something quite different about it.
Everything for sale here is second-hand. The mall only sells items that are recycled or ‘upcycled’, meaning unwanted items broken-down and reinvented as something new.
Anna Bergstrom, ReTuna Mall Manager You can come and just do sustainable shopping and Sweden loves it. And the world loves it. Everyone wants to be like us.
The clever thing about this mall in Eskilstuna near Stockholm is its location. It's right next to the city's recycling centre. So a steady stream of cars is already coming to drop off unwanted household items. This produces a regular supply of stock for the shops. When goods arrive, a team sorts everything into categories.
The mall’s shopkeepers can then pick out which things they want to sell or use as material for upcycling. One of the most popular shops in the mall specialises in handmadehousehold ornaments. This is its best-selling item. It's made from worn-out leather jackets.
In 2018, the mall sold second-hand goods worth $1.3 million, meaning unwanted items found new homes.
Did you get it? What guarantees to sellers a steady stream of items to recycle?
The mall is close to Eskilstuna's recycling centre, where people drop off unwanted household items.
By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM, NATTHAPAT PHROMKAEW THE NATION
Calls for greater cooperation from the public and threatens officials with punishment.
Traffic makes its way along a road as heavy smog lingers in the air in Bangkok, Thailand, 30 January 2019. // EPA-EFE PHOTO
THE PRIME MINISTER has said he is determined to step up measures to fight the worsening air pollution problem plaguing the capital, saying he may even issue drastic orders limiting the use of vehicles.
Premier General Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed that everybody should contribute towards smog-mitigation efforts, or the junta will enforce stern pollution-control measures.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of “Our Country, Our Future” exhibition yesterday, Prayut warned that if the smog in Bangkok was not effectively tackled, he will have an order issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) prohibiting people from driving alone, ban the use of diesel cars and even implement road-space rationing to mitigate the PM2.5 crisis.
Prayut also warned that local authorities and related agencies face punishment if they fail to control pollution and improve the situation.
With the air quality in Bangkok and nearby provinces continuing to worsen yesterday, and the level of very fine and harmful particulate matter – PM2.5 – expected to remain well above the safe standards until this weekend, the authorities began imposing stricter measures.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has designated the city a pollution-control zone and asked schools and universities in the capital to be closed for two days.
The PM also voiced his frustration with the ineffective efforts to tackle the air pollution problem in Bangkok, calling on all stakeholders to be more dedicated to pollution control efforts.
“The problem with PM2.5 is caused by multiple factors, so everyone needs to work together to tackle with these pollution factors and solve the problem at the root,” Prayut said.
“Some people have picked the air-pollution issue to criticise the government, but the government insists that we have already implemented all necessary short-term mitigation measures such as spraying water to lower PM2.5 levels and distributing face masks. But people also have a duty to do their part.”
He urged people to have more public consciousness, follow the rules and changing their polluting habits such as using vehicles |that emit black fumes from the exhaust.
“I don’t mean to cause inconvenience to people, but we need public participation to solve the problem,” he said.
The PM also insisted that official agencies, which have the responsibility to mitigate the smog, such as the Pollution Control Department, the BMA and local authorities, must be efficient in monitoring PM2.5 levels, alert the people when the air quality drops to harmful levels, and relieve the situation to ensure the good health and well-being of the citizens.
But if it were found that related official agencies had failed to discharge their duties, Prayut warned that they would be punished.
He also asked business operators and factory owners to scale down their operations during this time and make sure their facilities met the environmental protection standard.
In the meantime, he has ordered the Internal Security Operations Command in each province to deploy military officers to inspect the operations of factories in their areas and ensure they were following the pollution emission standards.
Students of Thai Niyomsongkraw school in Bang Khen district wait for their parents to pick them up at noon yesterday after Bangkok authorities ordered schools closed.
Government Spokesman Puttipong Punnakanta, meanwhile, said the PM was also concerned about the well-being of students, so he asked the Education Ministry to order temporary closure of schools in the capital today and tomorrow. He also authorised provincial |governors to consider temporary |closure of schools based upon the air pollution situation in their province.
BMA Governor Aswin Kwanmuang has ordered all 50 districts of Bangkok to be designated pollution-control area under the Public Health Act so as to allow the BMA to impose stricter legal measures such as banning outdoor burning, debarring vehicles that do not pass pollution emission standards and suspending construction work by official agencies.
Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) is tackled by Leicester City's English midfielder Hamza Choudhury (R). / AFP
Liverpool held in title blow, Chelsea humiliated
sports January 31, 2019 07:49
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted his team were denied a "clear penalty" which could have given them victory over Leicester on Wednesday and a seven-point lead in the Premier League title race.
Instead, Liverpool had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Anfield which gave them a five-point cushion over second-placed Manchester City, the reigning champions, who suffered a shock 2-1 loss at Newcastle on Tuesday.
A Sadio Mane goal in the third minute was cancelled out by Leicester defender Harry Maguire's equaliser in first-half stoppage time.
However, Liverpool then appealed in vain for what looked a clear second-half penalty when Naby Keita went down under a challenge from Ricardo Pereira.
"It was probably the clearest penalty situation we have had. You will have to ask the ref why he didn't give it," Klopp fumed.
Klopp, looking to end the Reds' 29-year wait to be crowned champions of England again, told BT Sport: "The opponent was well organised, very deep defending.
"The pitch was difficult and we needed to speed it up in the final third."
"Our counter-attacks in the opening moments were defended more by the pitch than our opponent," the German joked.
"We put them under pressure but they did really well. We were unlucky with the goal in the last second before half-time. You have to take it how it is."
Leicester manager Claude Puel had insisted before kick-off that his side would, as they had done before, raise their game against a leading club.
And the Frenchman was vindicated by a battling display that left his team 11th in the table.
"Of course I am proud of my players," he said. "It was another difficult start to the game. We conceded after two minutes but we didn't lose our structure.
"At the end we had more chances and it could have been better at the end."