Mac Holladay of Atlanta-based Market Street Services, in town for the national convention of theAssociation of Chamber of Commerce Executives, talked to the Business Record about the pros and cons of automation — one of the topics covered at this week’s sessions.

The talk was about robots, artificial intelligence and the like.

“In the long term, this will be positive, but it will be very different than where we are now,” Holladay, Market Street founder and CEO, said in an interview. 

Of course, automation will mean the loss of some jobs, Holladay said. But others will be created, from artificial intelligence builders to researchers, robot managers to safety and test drivers. Robots could have much bigger roles in labs, customer service and product testing. 

“Some jobs and new categories will be created,” Holladay said. “There is a serious need for flexibility and education.”

Holladay cited a University of Oxford study that found 47 percent of jobs in the United States are “at risk” of being automated in the next 20 years, with transportation, logistics, and office and administrative support at “high risk.”

The session at the ACCE convention in Des Moines, which runs through Friday, was meant “to get chamber officials to think about the fact that we know (automation) is coming,” Holladay said. “There isn’t any doubt that this is happening and it is going to happen more quickly. Will we be prepared as a community to do something about it? We need to adjust in education and upscaling. And we have no fundamental legislation to regulate any of this.”