The Future of Jobs is Half-full

It has become clear that automation is going to replace many old jobs. But the ramifications of that change is an old issue, going back at least to the Luddites, who destroyed machines that they thought were disrupting their working environment.

As robots and automation replace old jobs, they create new technologies and new wealth and new standards of living that include low cost baselines of subsistence living and grand vistas of leisure time and decisions. Additive manufacturing (3D-printing) is just starting to expand the possibilities of new business opportunities. Together with cheap energy (solar), and ubiquitous connectivity, a wide range of entrepreneurial quests is opening up.

While the jobs we used to consider necessary and therefore stable, may indeed disappear into the maw of automation, many more jobs in the areas of business ventures, scientific exploration and artistic expression are being made possible by the same wave of change.

This is Probably a Good Time to Say That I Don’t Believe Robots Will Eat All the Jobs … – [a16z.com]

One of the most interesting topics in modern times is the “robots eat all the jobs” thesis. It boils down to this: Computers can increasingly substitute for human labor, thus displacing jobs and creating unemployment. Your job, and every job, goes to a machine.

This sort of thinking is textbook Luddism, relying on a “lump-of-labor” fallacy – the idea that there is a fixed amount of work to be done. The counterargument to a finite supply of work comes from economist Milton Friedman — Human wants and needs are infinite, which means there is always more to do. I would argue that 200 years of recent history confirms Friedman’s point of view.

We Need a New Version of Capitalism for the Jobless Future – [unreasonable.is]

With the technology advances that are presently on the horizon, not only low-skilled jobs are at risk; so are the jobs of knowledge workers. Too much is happening too fast. It will shake up entire industries and eliminate professions. Some new jobs will surely be created, but they will be few. And we won’t be able to retrain the people who lose their jobs, because, as I said to Andreessen, you can train an Andreessen to drive a cab, but you can’t retrain a laid-off cab driver to become an Andreessen. The jobs that will be created will require very specialized skills and higher levels of education — which most people don’t have.

What the Luddites Really Fought Against – [smithsonianmag.com]

The word “Luddite,” handed down from a British industrial protest that began 200 years ago this month, turns up in our daily language in ways that suggest we’re confused not just about technology, but also about who the original Luddites were and what being a modern one actually means.

SEE ALSO:
Technology Continues to Make Jobs Obsolete
The New Rennaissance
A Surplus of Abundance
A Factory That Can Make Anything
Ethics of Time Use

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