Future of work

A dormant potential backlash over automation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestically, automation is often viewed with trepidation for its potential to kill jobs and bring on social unrest. But when you are talking tech competition among nations, political leaders suddenly become nationalists. Right now, the latter is the commanding position.

What's going on: Trump has made a policy cornerstone out of his trade war with China, elevating the automation-breeds-competitiveness argument. Companies could be propelled toward faster automation and accelerate a coming topsy-turvy future of work.

The coming impact of automation

Robots on a Ford assembly line in Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Automation will have the biggest impact on entry-level and older workers, because more of their jobs tend to be routine or physical in nature and are most likely to be taken over by machines and algorithms, according to a forthcoming McKinsey Global Institute report.

Why it matters: Almost 40% of U.S. jobs are in categories expected to shrink between now and 2030.