MSW Management

You May Be At Risk

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Like most boys growing up, one of the chores my brother and I were tasked with was the weekly ritual of “taking out the garbage.” Back then, it would entail toting out black Hefty bags from the garage to the curb. More often than not, my brother and I would forget about garbage day until the last minute and we would wind up sprinting the trash from the garage to the curb as the collection truck approached. Most times we would make it under the wire and we would stand and watch as the two workers who were riding on the back of the truck climbed down and threw our black Hefty bags into the back of the truck.

By the way, my mother (rightly so) would still yell at us for being so late taking out the trash.

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As it happens, I got older, moved far away from home, and never thought about or had to think about racing trash bags out to the curb until I came to MSW Management. That’s when I discovered that the jobs of those two collection truck workers who tossed trash bags into the truck had been lost to automation. I found out that people who worked in sorting lines had been replaced by automation.

Our industry may be facing another wave of job-replacing automation. A recent article on reports that a team of experts from Smart Asset, a financial technology company in New York, is predicting that 73 million jobs will be replaced by robots by the year 2030 and as many as half of vocations could be at risk in the coming decades. They’re even predicting how at risk you are simply by the state in which you live.

The website says:

According to that data, these are the 10 states most at risk of automation:

  1. Nevada – 59.16 percent
  2. South Dakota – 58.49 percent
  3. Wyoming – 56.4 percent
  4. Louisiana – 55.9 percent
  5. Montana – 55.36 percent
  6. South Carolina – 55.28 percent
  7. Mississipi – 55.09 percent
  8. Florida – 55.03 percent
  9. Texas – 55.01percent
  10. Alabama – 54.99 percent

Nevada topped the list with three out of five jobs at risk of automation. Those at the highest risk are those working in the retail industry, who have a 92 percent chance of being replaced by a robot. But it is the state’s gambling and hospitality industries that really earn Nevada the number one spot. As of now, they are major employers but they might not be for much longer, with gaming dealers, maids, and bartenders having around a 65 percent risk of automation.

Other jobs at high risk include cashiers, fast food workers, trailer truck drivers, office clerks, and hand laborers and material movers. Meanwhile, police officers, vocational nurses, and childcare workers have a less than 10 percent chance of being replaced by robots.

You can find the full list here.

The optimistic view is that more jobs will be created as a result of the coming technology, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI). 

Workers in 19th century England were decidedly not optimistic.

How do you think automation and AI will affect the waste management workforce?

Will it bring about change for the better?  GX_bug_web

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  1. Tell the entire story of Jobs at risk.
    Of the employees at risk assume approximately 1/3 will retire, the other 2/3 will be without work and headed for the welfare lines.
    The intent will be to retrain the displaced persons.
    However, who will retrain these displaced older workers that did not or could not because of the employment conditions keep up with the advances in technology. These old displaced persons will compete for the few menial survival wage jobs still to be replaced by robots. Employers will opt for hiring fewer young workers with the higher current technological capabilities. We also have to look at the many higher pay jobs also being replaced by AI Robots. I see a great growing un-balance in the populations between the few who have it all and the large number of people who will not be able to attain or ever see their dreams come true.
    Somewhere there must be a tipping of the balance of value between the importance of the humanoid and the throw-away robots. ( Note my use of the word humanoid versus human being). Just look around and you can see the large current depreciation in the value and respect for the human beings. What does the future hold for the humanoid when his life’s
    continuation will be determined by an advanced AI Robot. These are some strong points to ponder if technology takes the lead. Those of us currently setting the course will no longer be around. Take away a human being feeling of worth and you have value less chaos. What will be the final price tag?

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