Robot Process Automation
AI building blocks will affect all working-class categories in the US, including retail and food (17 million), blue-collar workers (11 million), and the caring class (the fastest-growing segment). But RPA takes a singular focus on the working-class folks who toil in cubicles. This comprises about 9 million workers in the US and falls into two categories: sales-related (think customer service) and administrative (think back-office). These categories align with two broad use case definitions in RPA. “Attended mode” is where a human interacts with the digital worker (or bot); this is the customer service use case. “Unattended mode” is where the human is completely replaced by the digital worker. Over the next five years, we expect RPA-fueled digital workers to replace about 4 million cubicle positions.
What this means should concern us all. Firstly, cubicle workers, who largely have high-school diplomas, will be tossed into the contingent workforce or left unemployed. Only a small percentage will have the right stuff for the digital economy, even given programs like SOAR in Kentucky, which retrains coal miners.