More jobs predicted for machines, not people
- More jobs predicted for machines, not people
Technology has always displaced some work and jobs. Over the years, many experts have warned -mistakenly- that machines were gaining the upper hand. In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes warned of a “new disease” that he termed “technological unemployment,” the inability of the economy to create new jobs faster than jobs were lost to automation. Today we can see, that many workers are losing the race against the machine. Technological advancements are outpacing the human worker.
The Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity,
and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy
The pace of automation has picked up in recent years because of a combination of technologies including robotics, numerically controlled machines, computerized inventory control, voice recognition and online commerce.
Faster, cheaper computers and increasingly clever software are giving machines capabilities that were once thought to be distinctively human, like understanding speech, translating from one language to another and recognizing patterns. So automation is rapidly moving beyond factories to jobs in call centers, marketing and sales - parts of the services sector, which provides most jobs in the economy.
The skills of machines will only improve. In 2004, two leading economists, Frank Levy and Richard J. Murnane, published “The New Division of Labor,” which analyzed the capabilities of computers and human workers.
Truck driving was cited as an example of the kind of work computers could not handle, recognizing and reacting to moving objects in real time.
But last fall, Google announced that its robot-driven cars had logged thousands of miles on American roads with only an occasional assist from human back-seat drivers. The Google cars, are but one sign of the times.
As others have, we can point to I.B.M.’s “Jeopardy”-playing computer, Watson, which in February beat a pair of human “Jeopardy” champions; and Apple’s new personal assistant software, Siri, which responds to voice commands.
This technology can do things now that only a few years ago were thought to be beyond the reach of computers!
Yet computers tend to be narrow and literal-minded, good at assigned tasks but at a loss when a solution requires intuition and creativity - human traits.
We are entering a new phase in world history - one in which fewer and fewer workers will be needed to produce the goods and services for the global population.
In medicine, law, finance, retailing, manufacturing and even scientific discovery the key to winning the race is not to compete against machines but to compete with machines.
It has to start somewhere; It has to start sometime;What better place than here, what better time than now?
"If, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves" [Aristotle, Aristotle's Politics, Book One sections 4].