This is the most pressing economic and social issue of our time.
Silicon Valley Is Right — Our Jobs Are Already Disappearing
Andrew Yang

Would you concede that perhaps global warming is perhaps tied as one of the most pressing economic and social issues of our time?

If we think about both at once, it may well be the case that building the infrastructure to manage a new energy delivery system offsets the jobs being automated.

Or, perhaps we could go on the pessimistic side and say that the ravages of war, pestilence and displacement predicted from global warming will disrupt our need for all of the automation, and there will be full employment as there always is in times of war.

I don’t disagree with the general hypothesis — one need look only to the past 50 ot 100 years to see how automation and technology have eliminated the need for people to do work now done by machines. Mountaintop removal for coal mining is an incredible example of massive productivity gain, for example, albeit reprehensible on any number of dimensions. The issue is change — change of any sort fosters innovation, but also results in displacement or “winners and losers” — more solar installers, fewer coal miners.

Perhaps our focus must be on resetting expectations of what is satisfying, socially valuable, and worthy human endeavor. Let’s redefine what a “job” is, because there’s certainly plenty to be done in this very imperfect world that does not involve ways to invent new ways to get better at building systems that will create jobs that eventually make even more people miserable.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Tom Harrison Jr’s story.