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In September 2013, Oxford University published a study concluding that 47 percent of U.S. jobs had the potential to be automated in the coming decades. This computerization of the economy will come
as technological advancement allows more tasks to be translated to computer code. The Oxford study
gave rise to concerns of disastrous levels of structural or “technological” unemployment in the United
States and elsewhere in the developed world. Although these fears are overblown, computerization will
have a profound impact on labor markets, forcing governments and societies to adapt to the changing
As computerization comes to permeate the economy, societies may see a drop in the base number
of middle-income jobs. This could increase income inequality, but would also help to balance out the
inevitable productivity losses as the populations of industrialized countries shrink. The lower cost
of manufacturing due to computerization could also bring some industry and jobs back to developed
countries, although this will remain limited for the next 10 to 20 years.