In this paper, we address the question: how susceptible are jobs to computerisation?

In doing so, we build on the existing literature in two ways. First, drawing upon recent advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Mobile Robotics (MR), we develop a novel methodology to categorise occupations according to their susceptibility to computerisation. Second, we implement this methodology to estimate the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, and examine expected impacts of future computerisation on US labour market outcomes.

Our paper is motivated by John Maynard Keynes’s frequently cited prediction of widespread technological unemployment “due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour” (Keynes, 1933, p. 3). Indeed, over the past decades, computers have substituted for a number of jobs, including the functions of bookkeepers, cashiers and telephone operators (Bresnahan, 1999; MGI, 2013).

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