I’m not the only one

So, after a week of talking about how people will always be people, and that we are inherently social animals, and that the macroeconomic trends will likely lead us to a new regionalism and a new American Dream based on opportunity rather than materialism…I came across this, from the founder of LinkedIn, no less.

The canary in the coal mine is trucking. Truck Driver is the number one job in the US of A. Driving a truck is a respectable job that pays well enough to provide for a family without a lot of education. Uber Freight is taking orders, powered by Otto. The $680M acquisition of 91 employees, is an effective valuation of $7.5M per employee. Or you could say $200 per US trucking job killed.

He’s talking about the coming tech backlash because Silicon Valley is deadset on throwing all of America headlong into a disastrous AI experiment whether we want it or not. The key to Mayfield’s article is that he believes technological efficiency is the cause of job losses in America more than outsourcing, and that Silicon Valley is in the process of creating so much machine-learning efficiency that even supposedly “safe” white collar jobs will soon be taken over by machines. Here are two more sobering quotes form the article:

A recent study found 50% of occupations today will be gone by 2020, and a 2013 Oxford study forecasted that 47% of jobs will be automated by 2034. A Ball State study found that only 13% of manufacturing job losses were due to trade, the rest from automation. A McKinsey study suggests 45% of knowledge work activity can be automated.
Maybe someone has 2 years and resources to retrain themselves. But if half the jobs are gone in 20 years, how many times will they have to retrain? What should kids study now knowing this?

Mayfield then tears down the latest pipe dream, Universal Basic Income, which is a glorious idea that is practically the most politically unfeasible idea in American politics. So, in essence, Silicon Valley is going to destroy 50% of American jobs in the next 20 years with no plan to replace them with something meaningful for people to do.

Disruption, y’all!