US. How Automation Will Affect Unfunded Pension Liabilities
In 2016, Deloitte Consulting and Oxford University did a study of public employees in the United Kingdom and estimated that up to 16% (almost 1 million jobs) could be eliminated by automation in the next twelve years. I think this is a wild underestimation.
In the U.S. military, we call it the tooth to tail ratio—how many people does it take in the rear (the “tail”), to keep the individual fighter locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy (the “tooth”). In World War II it was about 7 to 1. In Vietnam it was about 12:1. In the past ten years it has ballooned to over 20:1.
Automation holds out fantastic possibilities of rolling back that ratio, and thus beefing up the warriors in our armed forces as we redeploy people from tail to tooth. The same can also be said of our city, county, and state employees, except that there may not be the requirement for more employees interacting with the public. As the back office of government gets automated, those jobs may simply be eliminated.
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