- $2 trillion in annual US wages could be affected by automation, RBC says in a new report.
- RBC analysts argue that the loss of "grunt work" means that people will no longer need caffeine in 2025 in the same way they do in 2018.
- Instead of sipping coffee, people will turn to CBD to ease the anxiety of 2025's tech overload, RBC analysts theorize.
The rise of robots could lead to an unexpected consequence, according to a new RBC Capital Markets report.
The consumer edition of RBC's "Imagine 2025" report, released Monday, estimates that $2 trillion in annual US wages could be affected by automation. The report delves into many consequences of the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, including robots taking over a vast number of jobs from everyone from warehouse workers to waiters.
The report also includes a less obvious outcome of the robot takeover: coffee and other caffeinated drinks becoming obsolete.
"AI will minimize the amount of grunt work from manufacturing, driving trucks or cars anywhere, back office, really most jobs that may require a caffeine boost," the report states. "These caffeine-related jobs will either evolve or go away."
Instead, RBC analysts theorize that people will seek beverages that keep them awake to "think and become more creative."
"CBD may become the ultimate complement for caffeine, helping consumers relax," the report reads. "In fact, we could foresee a scenario where CBD and other relaxing agents become MORE popular than caffeine/stimulants as consumers continue to feel the stress/anxiety of technology-related stimuli (work, social media, etc)."
CBD is one of the non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis. The ingredient is used in salves, oils, balms, and beverages, creating a $1 billion business despite ongoing legal questions.
RBC analysts predict that every industry will be impacted by the rise of AI and automation. On the positive side of the equation, AI can be used to reduce costs and personalize products. On the negative side, AI might help make privacy obsolete and hasten the loss of middle-class jobs, which can in turn feed into the rise of authoritarianism.
In one eerie aside, RBC analysts ask:
"What if AI and machine-learning techniques become so advanced that data and logic drive every human decision over emotions? Could devices help humans decide what they want to do, eat, watch, buy, wear, and even feel? Will this decrease humans' ability to think independently? Will humans become machine-dependent for life?"
In other words, if RBC is right, AI might not only kill coffee, but also free will.
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