Oh No, Technology Is Going To Steal Your Job… Again

from the blah-blah-blah dept

This is getting a bit tiresome, but it looks like now that people are finally starting to calm down about offshoring, they’re suddenly up in arms about automation. First there was the complaint a few months ago saying we should stop working on certain technologies in order to save jobs. Now, Strategy Analytics, an analyst firm that should know better than to put out overhyped reports that don’t understand history is saying that offshoring is nothing compared to how automation will kill mid-level service jobs. Once again, all you need to do is look at history to show this is wrong. Every time automation removes the need for certain jobs, it’s opened up many more opportunities, often expanding the overall economy and raising our standards of living. It wasn’t that long ago that you needed a human operator to connect every phone call. However, once we figured out how to automate that process, it didn’t necessarily mean a destruction of all those operator jobs, but a new revolution in telephony which expanded so many businesses and created so many new jobs that no one could have imagined when the “operator” process was first automated. It’s getting repetitive to say it, but innovation is not a zero-sum game. Automating a job doesn’t just mean that the jobs go away, but that many more new opportunities open up.

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Comments on “Oh No, Technology Is Going To Steal Your Job… Again”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Whats the solution ?

What concerns me about all of this is that the ” Mc-jobs ” that will be available will be things like cashiers @ Wal-mart or burger flippers @ McDonald’s.

We all know that we can not survive on these pitiful wages & how many of us can afford to keep going back to school to retrain when we are already saddled with far too much college debt now ?

America doesn’t produce any durable goods anymore. We can’t support an entire nation on intellectual property.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Well, yes, it generated opportunities, but it still killed the old job.

Its not doom and gloom to point that out: Its a good warning to those in said service industries that they need to be planning for the eventuality.

Yes, automobiles killed the buggy whip industry. And yes, they created a lot more jobs, but I bet there were still those buggy whip makers who found themselves without a job and no prospects to get a new one.

Reports like the above should be taken as they probably are meant to be: Warnings to those in the affected industry that they need to be ready to adapt.

Also the “history has repeatedly proven” argument will get you laughed out of any economics classroom you ever attend. Every professor I know of begins classes with the aphorism “past behavior is no proof of future performance.” You have to look at the total sum of the forces at work in the situation, and a Pollyanna “something will come along… something ALWAYS does” really doesn’t count for much.

Human productivity, especially in the US, is at an all time high, and eventually, you DO have to address the issue when one human is productive enough to satisfy the needs that once took dozens. Eventually you must start to consider how to make a functioning economy in a world where the average person really only HAS to be productive for a very few number of hours in a given week.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

I agree, that it’s a useful warning, but that’s not the way it’s being pitched.

Also, don’t mistake my “something will come along” speech for blind faith… but going into what *is* coming along is much longer than a simple post. But, come on, how hard is it really to look at productivity factors and realize where the world is heading? All time productivity high means nothing when people are consuming more all the time too…. Productivity as a measure of individual work is also a pretty useless state.

TAD (user link) says:

No Subject Given

I agree with Anony up there… Eliminate all drudgery. I could care less if automation kills jobs at fast food places. That’s a horrible way to make a living. I’d like to see all non-creative jobs disappear as quickly as possible.

As for all the unemployed people… well, we can tax the automated industries and pay the people a wage based on those taxes, or train them and put them to work in more creative enterprises.

eric says:

Productivity = no new jobs. Here is an idea.

The economy is productive but yet businesses weren’t hiring. They didn’t need to. A biz only hires if it expands .

What the world needs is for these fucking PROTECTIONIST countries to open their markets.

India and the Asian countries get a FREE ride in this country but try exporting shit into theirs. Good luck nigger.

It’s one way trade thats hurting the U.S. right now.

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