The automation industry is nothing new. The old myth of John Henry against the steam drilling machine is around a hundred and sixty years old. It’s tragic that our media outlets/sources have not kept our citizens up to date on this issue. The media tasked with informing the public has moved away from serving the public to serving their corporate masters.
Cause and effect, when the news is reporting on the rising unemployment rate, they should spend a little time showing old footage of coal mines or assembly lines from the 1950's - 1960’s and compare it to industry today or even fifteen or twenty years ago. They should have their audience focus on how many fewer workers are being used today vs yesteryear. The news might have show a robotic device but failed to show how many workers were eliminated by the machine.
A large failure of our politicians has been to ignore the problem of job loss due to automation. During the campaign, I heard a lot of talk from both sides about bringing jobs back to the U.S., and how offshoring of jobs by U.S. corporations is causing the loss of middle class jobs. I can not recollect anyone talking about automation.
Both Gates and Musk have made great suggestions but getting our Congress to act on common sense ideas eludes me. I imagine the first thing Congress will say about a corporate tax for job loss due to automation will be “raising taxes on corporations is a job killer” or “we will create a new generation of welfare queens”. The media will spin this to the people and they will agree that corporations like people should not be taxed.
No one is going to explain to the bulk of Americans that when corporations are given tax breaks to retool or open a new plant. They are talking about automation and reducing their workforce. Example of this is Ford Motor Co. cancelling a plant in Mexico and building a plant in Michigan. Ford will receive financial incentives for this move. The plant Ford will use will initially hire 700 workers. The workers will need higher educations then auto workers of the past. The plant will use robotics replacing many workers in traditional assembly lines. But the most telling component of the story is Ford will produce self driving vehicles at this plant. Less labor for manufacturing and less labor for the consumer be it Uber or Checkered Cab.
Welcome to a brave new world. My only question is can our elected officials stop pissing on one another long enough to solve this problem.