Surviving The Automation Tsunami Wave: Navigating The Future Of Work

Galorian Creations
18 min readJun 1, 2024


The rapid pace of technological advancements challenges norms and job stability. Sharon Gal-Or explores strategies for reskilling, policy interventions, and ethical AI, which are crucial in navigating the Automation Tsunami.

Credit: Sharon Gal-Or and Tesfu Assefa

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics has ushered in an era of unprecedented technological transformation. While this progress promises significant economic and societal benefits, it also poses tough challenges, particularly regarding, loss of meaning, job displacement and socio-economic inequalities. As we stand on the brink of a new era, it is crucial to understand the implications of these changes and develop strategies to survive the ensuing “Automation Tsunami.”

The Cycle of Technological Disruption and Societal Transformation

Technological advancements drive economic disruptions by transforming industries and increasing productivity. This transformation can lead to both job displacement and creation. As industries evolve, societies face significant social shifts as they adapt to new realities, which include fluctuating unemployment rates. These social changes create new demands and priorities, further driving technological innovation and influencing employment patterns.

Impact of Pace on These Relationships

As the pace of technological advancements accelerates, the intensity and frequency of economic and social disruptions increase. This rapid change leads to shorter adaptation periods and heightened volatility in unemployment rates.

As companies struggle to keep up with rapid changes, job displacement increases in the short term. The need for continual reskilling and upskilling becomes essential to maintain employability in this rapidly changing job market, emphasizing lifelong learning. Accelerated social changes occur alongside technological advancements, causing faster shifts in societal norms, values, and priorities. These dynamics contribute to the Meta Crisis, as individuals grapple with finding purpose amid these swift transformations.

Future innovations such as quantum computing, advanced AI, and space colonization are projected to continue transforming society and technology. Economic instability may arise from widespread automation, AI-driven economic decision-making, and shifts in the space economy. Additionally, societal changes driven by transhumanism, human augmentation technologies, and potential societal integration with AI will further shape our future.

  • How can we effectively balance the rapid pace of technological advancements with the need for sustainable job creation and economic stability?
  • What strategies can be implemented to address the “Meaning Crisis” and ensure individuals find purpose in an increasingly automated world?
  • How will future innovations like quantum computing and transhumanism reshape our societal norms, and what ethical considerations should guide their development and integration?

The Meaning Crisis: The Aftermath of the Automation Tsunami Wave

How disruptive innovations effect our lives?

As we navigate the age of disruptive innovations, experiencing multiple ‘Gutenberg events’ simultaneously, the impact of this Tsunami wave on our lives extends far beyond economic statistics and unemployment rates. The rapid pace of technological change often leaves individuals grappling with a profound sense of uncertainty and existential angst, a phenomenon increasingly referred to as the “Meaning Crisis.” Disruptive innovations reshape industries and redefine job roles, often uprooting traditional career paths and destabilizing long-held societal norms. This upheaval can lead to a loss of purpose for many, as the roles and identities that once provided stability and meaning are transformed or rendered obsolete. The constant need to adapt and reskill can be both exhausting and disorienting, leaving individuals questioning their place in an ever-evolving landscape. Moreover, as automation and AI take over routine tasks, the human aspects of work — creativity, empathy, and social interaction — become ever more crucial, yet harder to define and integrate into the new economy. This transition challenges our fundamental understanding of work and its role in our lives, compelling us to seek new forms of meaning and fulfillment amidst the relentless march of progress. The challenge lies not just in keeping pace with technological advancements but in ensuring that these innovations enhance, rather than diminish, our sense of purpose and connection in an increasingly complex world.

According to the World Economic Forum, the displacement effect will see up to 30% of jobs at risk of automation by the mid-2030s. The transition phase due to AI-driven job displacement is expected to be significant and prolonged, potentially spanning decades.

The emergence of AGI presents both challenges and opportunities for economic systems. By anticipating these changes, we can proactively shape a future that harnesses the benefits of AGI while mitigating its risks.

David Shapiro

The McKinsey Global Institute also suggests that while technological advancements will create new jobs and industries, the transition phase could be marked by significant disruptions. Their projections indicate that up to 375 million workers globally might need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills by 2030 to remain employable.

Organizations and thought leaders are advocating for comprehensive policy frameworks to support this transition. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee emphasize the need for policies that promote education, training, and social safety nets to mitigate the adverse effects of automation. They argue that proactive measures are crucial to avoid exacerbating economic inequalities and social unrest during this period.

The disruption of jobs by AI is inevitable, but how we handle this transition will determine our collective future.

Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers

Hyperabundance and the Post-Labor Economy

David Shapiro introduces the concept of “hyperabundance,” where AI and automation significantly increase productivity, potentially leading to a collapse in prices for many goods and services and challenging traditional economic structures. Shapiro emphasizes the need for new economic models, such as Universal Basic Income (UBI), to address reduced aggregate demand caused by widespread unemployment. He also explores the potential for “experience industries” to thrive, offering unique human-centric services and experiences. As Shapiro states, “The emergence of AGI presents both challenges and opportunities for economic systems. By anticipating these changes, we can proactively shape a future that harnesses the benefits of AGI while mitigating its risks”​​.

Shapiro is not alone in this, most thought leaders discuss the concept of abundance driven by AI and automation. Andrew Ng, co-founder of Google Brain and a prominent AI researcher, emphasizes the potential of AI to address global challenges and drive sustainability efforts, such as in his work with the AI for Earth program​​. Similarly, Kai-Fu Lee in his book “AI Superpowers” highlights how AI can create an era of abundance but also stresses the need for new social contracts to manage the displacement of jobs and economic shifts​​.

However, it is important to note that Shapiro and these thought leaders often appeal to an educated audience, which does not necessarily represent the vast population that will be hit hardest by the upcoming tsunami wave of automation. This raises a crucial question: who is representing the poor in this story? The majority of the population affected by these changes may not have the resources or opportunities to adapt quickly, making it essential to consider inclusive policies and support systems to address their needs.

What happens when the pace of technological change is too fast?

The formula to determine the pace of technological change, incorporates several factors:


  • 𝐼: Impact index
  • 𝑇: Rate of Technological Advancement (number of significant technological advancements per unit time)
  • 𝐺: Effectiveness of Government Policies in facilitating adaptation (higher values indicate more effective policies)
  • 𝐸: Economic Conditions supporting or hindering adaptation (higher values indicate favorable conditions)
  • 𝐶: Cultural Attitudes toward technological change and innovation (higher values indicate more acceptance)
  • 𝑅: Rate of Workforce Reskilling and Adaptation (higher values indicate better reskilling capacity)
  • 𝑆: Social and Economic System Adaptability (higher values indicate more adaptable systems)
  • 𝑃: Psychological Impact on Individuals (higher values indicate higher resilience)
  • 𝐿: Time-Lag Coefficient representing the delay between technological advancement and its impact (higher values indicate longer delays)

Application of the Formula

1. Policy Development

Governments can use the formula to identify areas needing policy intervention:

  • Example: If 𝐼 is high, indicating rapid technological change and high impact, the government might increase funding for reskilling programs 𝑅, improve economic conditions 𝐸, or implement supportive policies 𝐺.

2. Corporate Strategy

Businesses can apply the formula to anticipate the impact of technological changes on their workforce:

  • Example: If a company foresees a high 𝑇 and low 𝑅, it can invest in internal training programs to enhance 𝑅 and prepare employees for upcoming technological changes.

3. Educational Planning

Educational institutions can use the formula to align their curricula with emerging technological trends:

  • Example: If 𝐼 is high due to rapid advancements 𝑇 and inadequate reskilling 𝑅, institutions might revise their programs to include more technology-related courses, thereby improving 𝑅.

4. Social Programs

NGOs and community organizations can develop programs to support individuals facing job displacement:

  • Example: If the psychological impact 𝑃 is low, indicating high stress and low resilience, social programs focusing on mental health support and resilience training can be implemented to improve 𝑃.

Example Calculation


  • 𝑇=10 (10 significant technological advancements per year)
  • 𝐺=1.2 (Proactive and supportive government policies)
  • 𝐸=1.1 (Favorable economic conditions)
  • 𝐶=0.9 (Moderate cultural acceptance of change)
  • 𝑅=0.8 (Moderate reskilling capacity)
  • 𝑆=0.9 (Fairly adaptable systems)
  • 𝑃=0.7 (Moderate psychological resilience)
  • 𝐿=0.2 (Moderate time-lag)

Interpretation of the Result

The final correct calculation for the Impact Index (I) is approximately 0.0509. This indicates a relatively low impact, suggesting that the society is well-adapted to the technological advancements given the current conditions. If the Impact Index were high, it would signify a need for urgent interventions to enhance reskilling, adaptability, and psychological resilience.

Global Overview

Unlike previous technological shifts, current disruptive innovations affect the entire globe, requiring coordinated efforts across different countries and cultures, each with its own pace of adaptation.

The impact of AI and robotics on unemployment varies significantly between developed and developing countries. AI has the potential to increase global economic activity by approximately $13 trillion by 2030, representing about 1.2% additional GDP growth per year. However, this growth is not evenly distributed, with developed countries likely to benefit more than developing countries.

By 2030, as many as 375 million workers — or roughly 14 percent of the global workforce — may need to switch occupational categories as digitization, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence disrupt the world of work.

McKinsey Global Institute, The Future of Work in America

Developed Countries

In developed economies, the adoption of AI and robotics is expected to lead to significant changes in the labor market. Sectors heavily reliant on repetitive tasks and manual labor, such as manufacturing and logistics, are most at risk. Jobs in these sectors are likely to be automated, leading to a decline in employment rates. For instance, repetitive task jobs could see a decrease from 40% to around 30% of total employment by 2030.

Conversely, there will be increased demand for jobs requiring high digital skills and non-repetitive cognitive abilities. These job profiles are expected to grow from 40% to more than 50% of total employment. Therefore, while certain job categories may diminish, new opportunities in technology-driven roles will arise, albeit requiring substantial reskilling of the workforce.

Developing Countries

Developing countries face different challenges. AI and robotics could exacerbate economic disparities, as these technologies are more readily adopted in advanced economies. This could divert investment away from developing nations, negatively impacting their GDP and employment rates. The transition may see a shift in jobs from labor-intensive sectors to those less reliant on unskilled labor, potentially leading to higher unemployment rates in countries that have traditionally depended on their labor force for economic growth.

Sector-Specific Impacts

  1. Manufacturing: Automation is expected to reduce the need for human labor in manufacturing, a sector heavily reliant on repetitive tasks.
  2. Logistics and Warehousing: AI-driven systems and robotics are increasingly used for inventory management and distribution, decreasing the need for manual labor.
  3. Healthcare: While AI can assist with diagnostics and patient management, it also requires high-skilled professionals to manage and operate these technologies, potentially leading to job displacement among lower-skilled workers.
  4. Finance: Automation of financial services and use of AI for data analysis could reduce the number of jobs in this sector, but simultaneously create demand for tech-savvy professionals.

Explanation of the Graph: Long-Term Trends of Disruptive Innovations (1900–2300)

The graph illustrates the intensity and frequency of disruptive innovations over time, from 1900 to 2300, categorizing these innovations into three main types: technological innovations, economic disruptions, and social changes. The index values, scaled from 0 to 100, provide an intuitive understanding of the impact of different periods of innovation. This comprehensive view helps us understand how past, present, and future disruptions influence societal transformations.

Key Periods and Trends

  1. Technological Innovations (Blue Line)
  • 1900–1930: Early industrial innovations such as electrification and the automotive revolution transformed industries and daily life, leading to increased productivity and economic growth. The index rises from 10 to 20.
  • 1950–1980: Development of computing technology and the space race marked significant leaps in technological capability. The index increases from 20 to 40.
  • 1980–2000: The rise of the internet and mobile technology revolutionized communication, information access, and business, fundamentally transforming society and the economy. The index rises from 40 to 60.
  • 2010–2030: Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), renewable energy, and biotechnology are driving significant changes in various industries. The index rises from 60 to 90.
  • 2050–2300: Future innovations such as quantum computing, advanced AI, and space colonization are projected to continue transforming society and technology. The index could rise from 90 to 100.

2. Economic Disruptions (Green Line)

  • 1920–1940: The Great Depression caused global economic impacts, leading to widespread unemployment and economic hardship. The index rises from 10 to 20.
  • 1970–1990: The oil crisis and stagflation led to economic instability and changes in global economic policies. The index increases from 20 to 40.
  • 2008–2010: The global financial crisis caused severe economic disruptions worldwide, leading to recessions in many countries. The index rises from 40 to 60.
  • 2020–2030: The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are still unfolding, but they have already caused significant disruptions. The index rises from 60 to 80.
  • 2050–2100: Predicted economic disruptions due to climate change impacts, including resource shortages, extreme weather events, and forced migrations. The index could rise from 80 to 90.
  • 2100–2300: Potential economic instability from widespread automation, potential AI economic decision-making, and space economy shifts. The index could rise from 90 to 100.

3. Social Changes (Red Line)

  • 1900–1920: Movements such as women’s suffrage and labor movements led to significant social changes, improving rights and working conditions. The index rises from 10 to 20.
  • 1960–1980: The civil rights movement brought about crucial changes in social justice and equality. The index increases from 20 to 40.
  • 1990–2000: The fall of the Berlin Wall and globalization led to major geopolitical and social shifts. The index rises from 40 to 60.
  • 2020–2030: Recent social justice movements and the digital revolution are driving substantial changes in society. The index rises from 60 to 80.
  • 2050–2100: Predicted social changes due to demographic shifts, including aging populations and increased multiculturalism. The index could rise from 80 to 90.
  • 2100–2300: Future societal changes driven by transhumanism, human augmentation technologies, and potential societal integration with AI. The index could rise from 90 to 100.

Key Insights

  1. Rising Trend: The overall trend of the graph shows a steady increase in the intensity and frequency of disruptive innovations over time. This indicates that technological, economic, and social changes are becoming more frequent and impactful.
  2. Periods of Significant Growth: The graph highlights specific periods where there was a marked increase in innovation activities, such as the post-war era, the digital revolution, and the early 21st century.
  3. Future Projections: The projections for the future suggest that the coming centuries will see even more transformative innovations, with significant growth in the innovation index. This reflects the expectation that technological advancements will continue to accelerate.
  4. Historical Context: The graph provides historical context by showing significant periods of innovation in the past and how they have shaped the present. This context helps in understanding the potential trajectory of future innovations.

Navigating the Automation Tsunami and Transition Phase

Policymakers must address the need for reskilling and upskilling the workforce to ensure that displaced workers can transition into new roles created by technological advancements. Investment in education and continuous learning programs will be crucial to mitigate the adverse effects of AI and robotics on employment, helping to provide new avenues of meaning and stability in a rapidly evolving job market.

Developed countries are generally better positioned to manage the transition due to their existing infrastructure and financial resources. Developing countries may struggle more due to limited resources and larger informal sectors.

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook

Preparedness and Policy Implications

To ensure a smoother transition, countries need to develop comprehensive strategies:

  • Education and Training: Emphasize STEM education and digital literacy from an early age.
  • Social Safety Nets: Strengthen social protection systems to support those affected by job displacement.
  • Innovation and Investment: Encourage investment in new industries and technologies that can create jobs and drive economic growth.

While AI and robotics present significant challenges, proactive measures can help harness their potential for economic and social benefits. Policymakers, businesses, and educators must collaborate to ensure that the workforce is prepared for the future of work.

Developed Countries

United States:

  • Policy Initiatives: The U.S. has various initiatives aimed at preparing the workforce for the future, such as the “Future of Work” initiative by the Department of Labor, which focuses on retraining and reskilling.
  • Investment in Education: Significant investment in STEM education and partnerships between private companies and educational institutions aim to equip the workforce with necessary skills.
  • Challenges: Despite these efforts, there is concern about the pace of change outstripping the ability to retrain displaced workers quickly enough.

European Union:

  • Strategic Plans: The EU has launched the Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda to enhance digital skills and lifelong learning.
  • Funding: Substantial funding is directed towards research and development in AI, with a focus on ethical AI and workforce adaptation.
  • Gaps: However, there are disparities between member states in terms of readiness and resources allocated to these initiatives.

Developing Countries


  • Government Programs: Initiatives like Skill India aim to reskill millions of workers in technology and other emerging sectors.
  • Private Sector Involvement: Companies like Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys are investing in training programs for their employees.
  • Challenges: The scale of the workforce and the speed of technological adoption pose significant challenges. Many workers still lack access to basic digital infrastructure.


  • National Strategy: China’s AI development plan includes significant investment in AI research, education, and infrastructure.
  • Focus on Education: There is a strong emphasis on integrating AI and robotics training into the education system from an early age.
  • Rapid Adoption: The pace of AI adoption is very high, but this also means rapid displacement in traditional industries, necessitating swift policy responses.

General Observations

  • Global Preparedness: According to the World Economic Forum, there is a substantial gap between the current state of workforce preparedness and what is needed. Many countries are still developing the necessary frameworks and policies.
  • Investment in Reskilling: The McKinsey Global Institute highlights the need for massive investment in reskilling programs globally, estimating that up to 375 million workers may need to switch occupational categories by 2030.
  • Economic Disparities: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) notes that developed countries are generally better positioned to manage the transition due to their existing infrastructure and financial resources. Developing countries may struggle more due to limited resources and larger informal sectors.

As technology continues to advance, the gap between those who can adapt and those who cannot will widen, leading to significant societal challenges if not properly managed.

Andrew Yang, The War on Normal People

The Automation Tsunami: Understanding the Crisis

The concept of an “Automation Tsunami” encapsulates the sweeping changes brought about by AI and robotics, which are expected to automate many jobs across various sectors. This wave of automation is likely to result in significant job displacement, creating a period of economic and social upheaval.

Statistics and Numbers:

  • McKinsey Global Institute: Estimates that by 2030, 400–800 million jobs worldwide could be automated, with 75–375 million people needing to switch occupational categories.
  • World Economic Forum: Predicts that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced, but 97 million new jobs may emerge, particularly in data analysis, AI, and green economy sectors.
  • Oxford Economics: Forecasts that up to 20 million manufacturing jobs could be lost to robots by 2030.

Overall, while AI and robotics will lead to job losses in some areas, they are also poised to create significant new employment opportunities, emphasizing the need for workforce reskilling and adaptation. There is, however, a period of time where many will be harshly hit by this tsunami wave, creating economic and social challenges.

Job Displacement and Sector Impact

Research by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that up to 375 million workers worldwide may need to change jobs by 2030 due to automation. The sectors most at risk include manufacturing, logistics, and certain administrative roles. For example:

  • Manufacturing: Automation of assembly lines and production processes could lead to the displacement of millions of factory workers.
  • Logistics and Warehousing: AI-driven systems and robotics are increasingly used for inventory management and distribution, reducing the need for manual labor.
  • Finance: The automation of financial services and data analysis could decrease the number of traditional banking jobs while creating demand for tech-savvy professionals.

In developing countries, the impact could be even more severe due to a lack of resources for reskilling and social safety nets. This disparity underscores the need for a global approach to address the socio-economic challenges posed by automation. We are not prepared for this transition, and as Andrew Yang notes, “As technology continues to advance, the gap between those who can adapt and those who cannot will widen, leading to significant societal challenges if not properly managed.”

Historical Parallels

The Automation Tsunami can be compared to previous technological revolutions that had profound impacts on labor markets:

  • Industrial Revolution: Mechanization led to the displacement of many artisanal jobs but eventually created new industries and employment opportunities. The transition was marked by significant social unrest, such as the Luddite movement, but ultimately paved the way for economic growth and improved living standards.
  • Digital Revolution: The rise of computers and the internet transformed numerous sectors, rendering some jobs obsolete while creating new ones in IT and digital services. This transition, although disruptive, also resulted in increased productivity and the birth of new industries.

These historical transitions were marked by periods of significant upheaval followed by long-term benefits. The current transition may follow a similar trajectory but at a much faster pace due to the rapid advancement of AI and robotics. The rate of technological change today is unprecedented, requiring quicker adaptation and more robust support systems.

Preparing for the Transition: Strategies and Solutions

To survive the Automation Tsunami, it is imperative to develop comprehensive strategies that address both immediate and long-term challenges. This involves a multi-faceted approach encompassing policy interventions, reskilling programs, and community initiatives.

Policy Interventions

Governments play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of job displacement through proactive policies:

  • Universal Basic Income (UBI): Implementing UBI can provide a financial safety net for those affected by job loss, ensuring economic stability during the transition.
  • Unemployment Benefits and Social Safety Nets: Expanding these programs can support displaced workers while they reskill and seek new employment opportunities.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborations between governments, private companies, and educational institutions can create effective retraining programs tailored to market needs.

Reskilling and Lifelong Learning

Investment in education and continuous learning is essential to prepare the workforce for future job markets:

  • STEAM Education: Emphasizing science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics from an early age can equip individuals with the skills needed for technology-driven roles.
  • Lifelong Learning Programs: Offering accessible and affordable retraining opportunities can help workers transition to new job categories and remain employable in a rapidly changing economy.

Community Empowerment and Local Production

Community initiatives can foster resilience and self-sufficiency:

  • Regenerative Renaissance: Encouraging communities to shift from overconsumption to self-production, focusing on local production and sustainable practices.
  • The “Inner Silk Road”: Promoting self-discovery and personal growth, enabling individuals to contribute meaningfully to their communities and economies.

Technological Inclusivity

Ensuring that technological advancements benefit all segments of society is crucial:

  • Ethical AI and Responsible Design: Implementing ethical frameworks and responsible design practices can ensure that AI technologies are inclusive and equitable. As Ben Goertzel from SingularityNET emphasizes, “Ethical AI is essential to ensure that technology serves humanity as a whole and not just a privileged few.”
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Designing AI systems that respect and incorporate diverse cultural perspectives can enhance their global applicability and acceptance.

Ethical AI is essential to ensure that technology serves humanity as a whole and not just a privileged few.

Ben Goertzel, SingularityNET

A Call to Action

The Automation Tsunami is about to hit us, and while the exact duration of the transition phase is uncertain, it is clear that it will require coordinated efforts across governments, industries, and educational institutions to ensure that the workforce is adequately prepared and supported. The focus on reskilling, social safety nets, and equitable economic policies will be vital in navigating this complex period of technological transformation.

The Automation Tsunami presents both significant challenges and unprecedented opportunities. By adopting a holistic approach that includes policy interventions, reskilling programs, community empowerment, and ethical AI design, we can navigate this transition effectively. As we move forward, it is essential to embrace the Regenerative Renaissance, fostering self-sufficiency and sustainable practices that ensure a more equitable and resilient future for all.

However, we must acknowledge the harsh reality that many will face significant challenges during this period. As Kai-Fu Lee warns in “AI Superpowers,” “The disruption of jobs by AI is inevitable, but how we handle this transition will determine our collective future.” This sentiment underscores the urgency and importance of our efforts to prepare for the impending changes.


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Innitially published in MindPlex Magazine



Galorian Creations

Galorian Creations The author with the Banana Smile. Stories, such as moral stories have the power to shape mankind’s destiny