Machines Will Never Put Humans Out of Work

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Machines Will Never Put Humans Out of Work

Paradoxical as it may seem, allowing machines to take over whole industries and enrich their owners can only work without disturbing social peace if governments invest in training people for old-fashioned professions.

It is now widely accepted that technological advances, especially ones that make machines more like humans such as robotization or artificial intelligence are putting people out of work and will only destroy more jobs in the future.

The wealth will accrue to those who own the machines, not to what’s known as the middle class today.

Advances in productivity, mainly driven by the development of digital technology, and the resulting economic growth, no longer cause employment and workers’ incomes to rise.

One could argue that even if technology isn’t eliminating jobs or depressing incomes now, it may do so in the future, when machines get intelligent enough to perform most human functions.

Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne made this argument in a 2013 paper that suggested that 47% of total U.S. employment was at risk from “computerization,” in areas as diverse as truck driving and legal writing.

Atkinson’s response to that is that the “robot owners” who will reap the financial benefits of all that automation will need to spend their money on something, and they will likely want to spend it on something with a human touch:

What happens to the people who are eventually displaced? Paradoxical as it may seem, allowing machines to take over whole industries and enrich their owners can only work without disturbing social peace if governments invest in training people for old-fashioned professions. Someone will need to make all those artisanal products that machine-owners will crave. Someone will need to take service industries to a whole new level of personal attention, inaccessible to machines.

It’s a matter of matching skills to a shifting demand pattern, driven by technology change and by people’s need to feel human in a world of machines.

The evidence of our displacement by machines is sketchy, and we should be able to adjust to the new technological era if we put our minds to it added Salomón Juan Marcos Villarreal, president of Grupo Denim.

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