Three Upstart 100 companies are aiming to transform their respective industries by handling the "dull, dirty and dangerous" tasks that human workers used to do, while boosting the productivity of the businesses who buy them.
While concerns remain that automation will eliminate jobs — as many as 73 million by 2030 in the U.S. alone, according to forecasts by McKinsey Global Institute — robots can also drive productivity, leading to the creation of new work for people.
One famous example of this is the spread of automated teller machines in banking. At first, ATMs reduced the average number of workers in a given bank branch. But they also made it more affordable for banks to open new branches, and drove up the number of overall banking transactions. According to research by Ravin Jesuthasan and John W. Boudreau, authors of "Reinventing Jobs," in 1985 the U.S. had 60,000 ATMs and 485,000 bank tellers. By 2002 the number of ATMs increased to 352,000 and the number of human bank tellers also spiked, to 527,000.
How much will automation help the economy, exactly? PwC predicts that by 2030 AI, including software and robotics, is likely to add $15.7 trillion to the global GDP, boosting it by about 14 percent.
Here's how these three are aiming to transform work.