Will new technologies snatch jobs away?

New technologies mostly aim at improving efficiency mostly by automation, in many cases of disruption they create jobs for people not even experienced in that line of business. I grew up in Coimbatore where there are a lot of entrepreneurs/self employed people around on multiple scales and domains. My observation in the family circle was that people who were diploma/degree holders were quick to change businesses at a short notice like repairing electronics, making UPS, real estate, advertising, billboards etc. People who were involved in labour and ever green low income businesses like groceries, chauffeuring continued to thrive. The ones who were deeply impacted were the specialists like artists, thavil musicians.

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Photo by Amandine Cornillon on Unsplash

I have a direct observation as I became a billboard maker while in college making use of the latest software tools. I have witnessed extremely talented people like a billboard painter who can paint my portrait in 10 ft x 10 ft proportions just by looking at me and not taking any measurements. All of a sudden, I a college kid with no talent in art started producing high resolution billboards that stand out from the hand painted ones and at a cheaper price and at a quick turnaround time. I was also able to show them options of how the final design would turn out to be and make runtime changes as per their liking.

I recently read this article by Anand Tamboli, it is titled The Five AI Myths to Be Aware Of. The very first point in that article echoed with me because when a technological innovation happens, the specialists who were living hand to mouth with their skills are going to be the worst affected. None of the billboard painters had the time to learn to use a computer nor were able to spend money to buy one. In fact they were living hand to mouth that they had to step down to unskilled labour to continue earning their livelihood.

So will new technology snatch jobs away? Yes, if the individual is a highly skilled labour living hand to mouth. It is real that people lose jobs if technological innovation comes up and there is not much an alternative unless we live in a welfare state.

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