Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor


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Here’s a paradox you don’t hear much about: despite a century of creating machines to do our work for us, the proportion of adults in the US with a job has consistently gone up for the past 125 years. Why hasn’t human labor become redundant and our skills obsolete? In this talk about the future of work, economist addresses the question of why there are still so many jobs and comes up with a surprising, hopeful answer.

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21 Replies to “Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor”

  1. Any government leader stating that they are "bringing jobs back" is a liar, whether intentional or not. Leaders must update the script and push for the Universal Basic Income. Jobs will be nearly 100% automated by 2050, humans can not compete with tech. Robot doctors will not make a mistake, human doctors often make mistakes. Replace human labor with automation, allow humans to live free and apply the Universal Basic Income now!

  2. These people have no idea what "time" means. Yes hundreds of types of jobs disappeared and thousands have been created in the past…. OVER DECADES. People with redundant craft had years to retrain or retire. If you replace for example truck drivers, waitresses and store clerks in same decade there is no way there will be enough "new" jobs for 20-50 milion people in EU alone and there is no way you can retrain 10th of them fast enough.

  3. I'm working on my master's thesis.  Guess what my conclusion is?  That currently we are cognitively superior.  In 50 years (at the way outside…but probably 20) we will be cognitively inferior to AI.  At this point, there will be little reason in a developed nation to hire people.  AIs would do the things that people do that require cognition.  Somewhere sooner than that unemployment will likely exceed the unemployment of the great depression.  The largest sources of labor today are all easy targets for automation.  Just replacing the easy targets is sufficient to bring the US to 40% unemployment (the great depression was about 25%).  The US is setting themselves up for this specific problem.  The party in power?  They are the party that wants to continue pushing the power and wealth to the top.  Making it far more likely to be catastrophic for the vast majority.

  4. AI does not need to take away all jobs.There was 25% unemployment during the Great Depression. Its easy to see how AI can cause significantly more unemployment than that. We're talking 30 to 40% unemployment. The real unemployment rate, if you count underemployment, people who haven''t looked for jobs in a while, is actually already close to 15-20 %. We're already teetering on the edge of a depression, and AI will be the final push. Also, education isn't the answer. Sorry, but supply and demand is a thing. An increase the supply of college graduates with the same degree (STEM), makes the field more competitive. Thus, more unemployment. My field is accounting. Accounting majors 10-20 years from now should prepare to be obsolete. Software is already taking away jobs in the industry and its only a matter of time before low to mid tier accounting jobs are all but gone. If software & hardware can take jobs from accountants, do you think any lower to mid tier office job is safe?

  5. What a joker, while it is true that in history technology has brought new jobs, now we are starting to see the very people employed in those technological jobs thrown on the scrap heap. We are basically screwed unless we change our financial system. Don't see what I am getting at? Try selling a camera, or a calculator, or a watch to someone who owns a smart phone. They do not want one. Because this newest technology is a lot more open, it means you can buy one thing, but use it for something totally different. Earlier in this talk he mentioned Pokemon Go… what he failed to mention is no new technology was needed… it was all software and no real money was made from that craze.

  6. Certainly automation won't be taking away all our jobs yet, and there are many good reasons for that. Say for instance that the machines that we have made so far, are far less compatible, less agile more expensive, less efficient and unable to finally they are unable to think and make of their own. However, it is not going to be like that forever. For the moment, let us enjoy our existing time and let the future generation be worried about what tomorrow will bring for them.

  7. It is something that will never work.Maybe it should but it is not just about realty or possibility as it is about of the human kind psychology. People do not want o share , they wouldn't want to let others have the same amount as they do. There will be a fight for taking over. Greed will never let people live equally . Stronger, maleficent, will get more. weaker, bleeding hearts or dreamers will perish one by one.Will never be something for everyone…just grab those and live happily. That is a pretty lie…Maybe in Nirvana's lands but not here on Earth, no matter how much wealth would be, there will never be enough for the greedy and the arrogant powerful ones.