Another Perspective on Job Loss Due to Automation

AI

Robots – As I have posted before, there is great debate over whether or not Automation and Robotics will cost jobs. I read “The Great Myth of the AI Skills Gap” today and it is in the camp that Automation will create rather than cost jobs. Some of the points that the article brings out:

  • workers most likely to be displaced by technology lack the skills needed to do the new jobs created by that technology
  • the most common worry is that new technology will cause systematic permanent unemployment
  • there is concern that those who get training will stay employed at high paying jobs while those without training will be unemployed
  • new technology does eliminate low-skilled, low-paying jobs
  • the author’s position is that everyone should be able to do a job just a little harder than they are doing now – i.e. everyone level up a bit as automation is deployed
  • 200 years of economic history supports this
  • every fifty years, we lose about half of all jobs, and this has been pretty steady since 1800 
  • wages can continue to rise because technology has always increased worker productivity
  • the nature of technology has always been to create high-skilled jobs and increase worker productivity

While all that is said here makes some sense, I am concerned that the imapact of Robots and Automation will be deeper and more wide spread than prior disruptions caused by technology. While I agree that technology will create new jobs, I fear that they will be too few in number and require too much education/training to absorb those being displaced.

As with so many things the best advice is to plan for the worse and hope for the best.

2 thoughts on “Another Perspective on Job Loss Due to Automation”

  1. My attitude is generally that things will work out in the long run. There will still be plenty of work for humans to do in the future, just different work. But in the short term, I think a lot of people can and will get hurt. A lot of people already have. If we’re in some sort of transition period, it would be nice if we could do something to ease the transition.

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