Blue-collar jobs will survive the rise of artificial intelligence. But the work will change

Call it the automation paradox: The infusion of artificial intelligence, robotics and big data into the workplace is elevating the demand for people’s ingenuity, to reinvent a process or rapidly solve problems in an emergency.

The new blue-collar labor force will need four “distinctively more human” core competencies for advanced production: complex reasoning, social and emotional intelligence, creativity and certain forms of sensory perception, according to Jim Wilson, a managing director at Accenture Plc.

“Work in a certain sense, and globally in manufacturing, is becoming more human and less robotic,” says Wilson, who helped lead an Accenture study on emerging technologies and employment needs covering 14,000 companies in 14 large, industrialized nations.

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