Automation is hardly a new threat to workers. Long before the arrival of COVID-19 disrupted businesses, many manufacturing executives were already changing how their companies assembled products, and other industries were considering following suit.
But as the global crisis has dragged on, the pandemic could be accelerating that shift.
“Every time there’s a disruption it forces people to make decisions,” says Tom Smith, an associate professor of finance at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. “I would put money on the fact that this has sped up at least the decision-making process. When, all of a sudden, you’re in a crisis, smart and creative people find solutions. Creative people don’t let the crisis take everything down if they can help it.”