At the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, at least four panels so far have focused on technology taking over markets to mining, and most importantly, jobs.
“Most of the benefits we see from automation are about higher quality and fewer errors, but in many cases it does reduce labor,” Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, said on Tuesday during a panel on “Is Any Job Truly Safe?”.
Technology has done away with many Low-wage, low-skill jobs.
They cited robots operating trucks in some Australian mines; corporate litigation software is replacing employees with advanced degrees who used to sift through thousands of documents before trials; and on Wall Street, the automation of jobs previously done by bankers with MBAs or PhDs. “Anyone whose job is moving data from one spreadsheet to another, that’s what is going to get automated,” said Daniel Nadler, chief executive of Kensho, a financial services analytics company partly owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
“Goldman Sachs will be in here in 10 years; JPMorgan will be here. They’re just going to be much more efficient regarding operating leverage and headcount,” he added.
Big banks have slashed tens of thousands of jobs in recent years as businesses like bond trading have become less profitable.
Under tremendous pressure from investors to boost profits, but unable to grow revenue much, banks are increasingly turning to technology to reduce costs.
Citi’s analysts predicted a 30 percent drop in banking jobs across the United States and Europe over the next decade.
Milken panelists noted technology’s impact on work far beyond Wall Street.
Martin Ford, an author, and entrepreneur argued that while the so-called gig economy has created temporary jobs for independent contractors, the next step is to get rid of them.
David Siegel, co-chairman of the quantitative hedge fund Two Sigma, blamed technology for income problems that have led to political upheavals around the world over the past several years.
Billionaire investor Steve Cohen said it would take awhile before robots replace stockpickers like himself.
Kate Mitchell, co-founder of Scale Venture Partners, said freelance sites have allowed workers to supplement their income.
“It’s easy to villainize technology,” she said, “But there are a lot of opportunities there at the same time.”