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Don’t look back — the machines are gaining on you

A new working paper from researchers at Oxford University poses an important question: "The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization?"

The answer? A lot.

"According to our estimate, 47 percent of total US employment is in the high risk category, meaning that associated occupations are potentially automatable over some unspecified number of years, perhaps a decade or two.

The authors, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, describe their study as attempt to quantify "what recent technological progress is likely to mean for the future of employment." Advances in machine learning, they believe, including, but not limited to, improvements in pattern recognition derived from crunching "big data," will vastly increase the number of clerical and administrative support jobs that can be replaced by machines. Self-driving vehicles will eviscerate employment in the transportation industry. And so on.

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