Automation Technology Takes Over Jobs While Politicians Ignore It In Their Campaigns

Greater automation and a reliance on robotics will increase unemployment and political unrest, predicts an economist at a prominent New York-based think tank.

While the job market outlook for the near future looks optimistic, robotic automation is already replacing low-skilled jobs and will have a major impact within the next 10 year, said Kenneth Goldstein, an economist at The Conference Board at a press conference with NYU students on Sept. 13. “However, none of the American politicians discuss this in their campaigns,” Goldstein said.

Kenneth Goldstein, at the The Conference Board building in Manhattan, after a press conference with NYU students on Sept. 13. (Wolfie Zhao/UpstartCity)

“The impact is huge,” he said. “The people whose jobs are replaced or going to be replaced by robotics are not necessarily the people who will find another job.”

The 5.5 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. are not a boon for unemployed workers, but a sign that people don’t have the training to take these jobs, he said. This incentivises businesses to bring on robotics to alleviate the situation where companies are unable to provide services for potential customers due to manpower shortages.

Meanwhile, Goldstein said, ghost towns can already be found in states like Ohio or Colorado, because jobs that were in these smaller towns have been either automated or outsourced for lower cost. “That’s where the political unrest is coming from,” he said.

Goldstein says automation technology improves productivity and frees workers from tedious jobs they don’t like. The challenge is how to expand the economy to create jobs for those replaced roles, to help workers pay their mortgages while also recognizing their social value.

The social consequence of automating jobs is “extremely important,” Goldstein said, which might explain why politicians avoid talking about this: because “they don’t have solutions.”