“Yes, we have 200 years of headlines saying the robots were going to take our jobs. Yes, historically new technologies have created more jobs than they’ve done away with. Yes, we have no idea what kind of creativity will be unleashed when 3 billion new minds come online in the next five years.”
I take exception to these concepts, and I’ll explain further.
Other than sensational headlines we haven’t been concerned about robots taking our jobs because most that have in the past have been big expensive robots that replace more inefficient systems, but didn’t displace a massive amount of workers. Such as the robots used in the auto industry. The coming wave of automation will be cheap and able to replace a lot of jobs, actually most of them. This makes all the difference.
Think of it this way. If you’re creating a new industry would you take advantage of any and all labour saving tech or not? Most established industries haven’t automated because they’re already heavily invested in current infrastructure. And they won’t until the cost of automation reaches a point where replacing that infrastructure is cost effective enough.
Think of the difference between Sears and Amazon. Sears has B&M stores and uses an already established logistic system of warehouses, delivery drivers, etc. Amazon uses the internet and a highly automated logistic system in their warehouses. So who do you think employs more people? But how hard would it be for Sears to do a 180 and duplicate Amazon’s systems? Right now, pretty hard, eventually they’ll have no choice. So do you see every new technology as it ramps up being a Sears or an Amazon?
New industries are better positioned to take advantage of not only current tech to reduce their labour force, but creating even newer concepts in automation to reduce it further. So don’t expect seeing too many new jobs get created. If automation becomes cheap enough to replace the majority of the workforce it will be cheap enough to always be the go to solution for labour.
To really understand how large a fundamental shift the coming wave of automation is going to be you really need to watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU
It concisely explains why we need to reevaluate the concept of the necessity of working for a living. That’s why I’m a big proponent of a UBI. It’s the only way we’ll be able to prevent the economic meltdown that will come with automation IMHO.