What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs

5 min read

What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs – You’ve probably heard the news by now: inequality is rising, the middle class is shrinking, wages are stagnating, fueling a populist backlash on the right and left around the world, resulting in our current moment of rising political affiliation and falling social trust. . And in the background of this landscape of socioeconomic concerns is the specter of automation. Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics have displaced millions of workers, and in the coming years up to half of all jobs could be made obsolete by automation, including even security, highly skilled industries like law, medicine and (gulp) finance.

At least this is the impression you might get if you happened to read, say, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post, Bloomberg or the BBC at any given time, to name a few. a few, just a few examples. Of course, new job-saving technology that threatens the jobs of some is a problem society has faced for hundreds of years, so what’s different today? For many, automation through algorithms represents a paradigm shift from previous modes of industrialization that supported mass work. In his bestselling book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, historian Yuval Noah Harari (yes, this is a book about the future written by a historian) presents the basic case for technological mass unemployment:

What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs

What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs

Ever since the Industrial Revolution began, people feared that mechanization would cause mass unemployment. This never happened, because as old professions became obsolete, new ones developed and there was always something that man could do better than machines. However, this is not a law of nature and there is no guarantee that it will continue to be so in the future. Humans have two main types of abilities: physical and mental. As long as machines compete with humans only in physical abilities, there are countless mental tasks that humans can perform better. So, as machines took over purely manual labor, people focused on work that required at least some mental skills. But what happens when algorithms outperform us in memory, analysis and pattern recognition?

Man Versus Machine: Are Robots Taking Over More Jobs By The Day?

He went on to give several examples of mental tasks once considered “uniquely human” such as playing chess, recognizing faces and driving cars, which are now or will soon be performed by the best computers. As the list of tasks that computers can do grows, we humans are left with fewer and fewer things until human tasks are no longer needed. At this point, anyone without enough wealth to support themselves would be completely dependent on the government or other benefactors to provide them with daily sustenance. This is the part of the conversation where the idea of ​​Universal Basic Income (UBI) usually comes up. UBI is simply a system where the government gives money to all its citizens, with no strings attached, just to live on, usually in an amount sufficient to keep someone at the poverty level. It’s an idea that’s been around for a long time, and has been supported in some form by a list as diverse as Milton Friedman, Martin Luther King Jr. and Richard Nixon, but is now often mentioned in the same breath as automation. , often by people who work on automation themselves, like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. As algorithms inevitably put more people to work, we think, we need to rethink how the average person lives in a world that no longer has to work. Perhaps no one has made this statement more boldly today than Andrew Young, the New York businessman turned 2020 presidential candidate who has all the platforms to bring UBI to the United States, without it, “a jobless future will be his…desperate struggle for resources.” Mad Max.” In a recent interview, Yang made it clear that he doesn’t think this is an abstract concern for future generations, but the most pressing issue of our time:

The technological changes that will completely disrupt millions of American jobs beyond imagination are here with us today. The reason Donald Trump won the 2016 election is because we automated 4 million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin—the swing states he should have won—between 2000 and 2015. And it’s only going to get worse because we’re going to triple the elimination of the most common jobs in the American economy, which are, in order: administrative and office jobs…retail and sales workers, service and food preparation workers, truck drivers and transportation, and manufacturing.

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I’m very unaware that there’s a real problem here, and I’m generally optimistic about the future that technological advances will bring. In the next few posts, I will bring the zeitgeist to this unique moment in history as we find ourselves, exploring the relationship between technology, economic growth, finance, globalization, freedom, and the human condition. First, why robots probably won’t lead to Mad Max’s desperate struggle for resources.

In looking for evidence for the hypothesis that it “automatically causes unemployment” a good place to start might be the unemployment rate. It seems pretty low now. This is the lowest it has been in decades.

Ai And The Future Job Market: Will Robots Really Steal Our Jobs?

Most people seem to be able to get a job these days despite all the robots. But isn’t that the point that not everyone can find a full-time job? Hasn’t technology pushed an entire class of workers into the gig economy where they can just work part time driving for Uber or whatever? The official US unemployment rate is technically U-3 unemployment, which includes people looking for work but not working. U-6 employment is added to those who work part-time or part-time but are looking for more work. U-6 seems to be below average now because we started measuring it in the 90s as well.

So far, the technological unemployment hypothesis is not a good start. But most intelligent observers of these issues are aware of these facts and point to two key indicators that support them: labor force participation and wage growth.

The American labor force grew during much of the second half of the 20th century as women increasingly began working outside the home. But it began to decline at the turn of the century, then plummeted after the financial crisis, and has basically not recovered since.

What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs

At least part of that decline represents the archetypal factory worker or miner who resided in the rust belt we heard so much about in the last election cycle, whose jobs are now being done by a machine while they remain unemployed. Many worry that this is the first wave of a coming tsunami of jobs that will be lost to automation, leaving devastated communities where many have no choice but to leave the workforce entirely, often ending up permanently disabled, if nothing else. alternatives. But how statistically significant is this trend? Now we’re talking about a few percentage point difference between the all-time high and where we are today, about 67% versus 63%, hardly a difference that should rush you to declare that the economic law has changed. Nor are all changes the result of these types of worker dissatisfaction. In fact, we know most of them aren’t. JPMorgan shows this decline in participation rate declines since the Great Recession.

As Ai Advances, Will Human Workers Disappear?

Although some of the early declines were a cyclical result of the fact that the last recession was particularly severe with many people left unemployed after unemployment benefits ended, most of them have now recovered. But most people who have since stopped working chose to do so because they retired, which is represented by the “Ageing” part of the table. The US population is aging, and baby boomers have begun to slowly retire, which they will continue to do for several more years, increasing the labor force participation rate. This is less a “robot apocalypse” and more “the real world that economists have known for decades.” A small portion of the 1% “Other” has to include all your discouraged workers that Hal 9000 laid off, AND make room for other totally bad things like overstayers, moms (and dads) who chose to stay home with their kids, and they who killed Bitcoin and now live online. America’s 1% still means a few million people — enough to sway national elections in some cases — but hardly enough to draw any firm conclusions about a fundamental shift in the nature of work.

Well, maybe we’re not running out of work (yet), but work

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