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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Headlines, white papers and studies say AI and robotics will trigger massive job losses in the future. But the technologies that we have today — from spreadsheets to smartphones — have already upended millions of jobs.
Why it matters: The jobs that have changed most dramatically over the last decade are lower-paying ones that are often located in economically distressed parts of the country. The disruption is adding pressure on Americans who are already struggling.
The big picture: Much of the scholarship on the future of work looks ahead to predict which industries will change in the years to come.
What's happening: Per Markle's analysis of how quickly 715 different occupations have changed, the hardest hit U.S. sectors are retail and health care.
For example, there are around 4.5 million retail salespeople in America who make a median annual salary of $24,200. The number of digital skills required to do this job has increased 22% from 2008 to 2018.
Some occupations are transforming even more quickly.
"These are the mainstays of middle-skill employment in America, and they are transforming at breakneck pace," says Mark Muro, who has studied the digitalization of American jobs at the Brookings Institution. "While we can talk about how vulnerable they will be going forward, they’re already, right now, involved in massive skill change."
The other side: The jobs that are at the top of the wage pyramid are the ones that have barely changed since 2008 — often because they are already high-tech occupations.
What to watch: The cost to reskill and upskill workers to deal with even the smallest technological changes to their jobs will be in the tens of billions of dollars — at least. And while big companies like Walmart and Amazon might have pockets deep enough to pay for training, smaller companies will have to rely on the government to step forward.
An Amazon Fresh delivery worker makes a stop. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Amazon is losing billions of dollars as it expands free, fast shipping. Still, the company keeps doubling down and debuting two-hour grocery delivery at zero cost to Prime members in new markets.
The big picture: The American food market is worth a whopping $700 billion, but that's not why Amazon is chasing it. Consumers shop for food more frequently than anything else, and Amazon is betting that getting people to visit its site whenever they need groceries will turn them into loyal, lucrative customers.
"The path to the U.S. consumer's bank account is through their stomach."— Charlie O'Shea, a retail analyst at Moody's
Driving the news: Amazon is slashing its monthly $14.99 fee for two-hour Amazon Fresh grocery delivery in 20 cities.
But, but, but: "I see Walmart's advantage in food similarly to the way I see Amazon's online retail advantage," he says. "The lead is too big."
What to watch: Toppling Walmart is nearly impossible, but Amazon is in the best position to do it. It has a ton of cash to invest in the fight — and patient shareholders who are willing to let it spend big and worry about profits later.
Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
In March, I sat in on a forum at South by Southwest in Austin where mayors were urged to think like futurists.
Turns out developers across the country are actually doing this, Axios' Kim Hart writes.
The biggest hurdle is the lack of awareness that parking garages can be redeveloped to serve people, not just cars, Diane Hoskins, co-CEO of Gensler, an architecture and design firm, tells Kim.
"[T]hese structures were not originally designed for human habitation. These spaces often require us to raise the floor height, level the floors between ramps and incorporate design techniques that bring natural light into the space," Hoskins says.
Sign up for Kim's Cities newsletter — my personal favorite Axios product — here.
Illustration: Axios Visuals
Elizabeth Holmes at the Fortune Global Forum in 2015. Photo: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune
When Quartz's Daniel Wolfe went to a Uniqlo in Emeryville, California, to buy a basic black turtleneck for a homemade bee Halloween costume, he discovered they were sold out.
Wolfe has a theory: Everyone in Silicon Valley is dressing up as Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced CEO of Theranos, for Halloween.
Check out the various interpretations of Holmes on Instagram.
Thanks for reading!