How Will Emerging Computers Affect Older Workers by 2040?


The brief’s key findings are:

  • Since the 1980s, computers have increasingly taken on “routine” tasks for jobs that rely on step-by-step instructions, from assembly-line workers to travel agents.
  • Emerging computers, however, can learn to perform “non-routine” tasks, making jobs from truck drivers to loan officers vulnerable to replacement.
  • Despite these advances, humans retain an edge in social skills and in mental skills honed by education (e.g., reasoning and creativity).
  • Older workers share this edge, as their education is similar to younger workers, and natural social skills tend to improve with age.

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