Automation and The End of The Job Market as We Know It

Back in September I found this very interesting article from the Technology ReviewReport Suggests Nearly Half of U.S. Jobs Are Vulnerable to Computerization:

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report (which is not online, but summarized here) from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology attempts to quantify the extent of that threat. It concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage. Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

Few weeks later, Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse, wrote the following:

Considering the fact that the percentage of the U.S. population that is employed is already far lower than it was a decade ago, it is frightening to think that tens of millions more jobs could disappear due to technological advances over the next couple of decades. I have written extensively about how we are already losing millions of jobs to super cheap labor on the other side of the globe. What are middle class families going to do as technology also takes away huge numbers of our jobs at an ever increasing pace? We live during a period of history when knowledge is increasing an an exponential rate. In the past, when human workers were displaced by technology it also created new kinds of jobs that the world had never seen before. But what happens when the day arrives when computers and robots can do almost everything more cheaply and more efficiently than humans can?

For employers, there are a whole host of advantages that come with replacing human workers with technology. Robots and computers never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time on Facebook, they don’t need any health benefits and there are a vast array of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.

If you could get a task done more cheaply and more efficiently by replacing a human worker with technology, why wouldn’t you want to do it?

[…] This is one of the reasons why the U.S. economy will never produce enough jobs for everyone ever again.

If technology can outperform humans, it is only rational for companies to replace humans with technology.

The future job market looks pretty scary. I’d recommend to read the entire article, which is really good. If that doesn’t make anyone think about the future ahead, nothing else will. One thing that really called my attention of Snyder’s analysis is that even China, with all its cheap labor and slave wages, is starting to automate their factory plants! This is from The Wall Street JournalRobots May Revolutionize China’s Electronics Manufacturing

A new worker’s revolution is rising in China and it doesn’t involve humans.

With soaring wages and an aging population, electronics factory managers say the day is approaching when robotic workers will replace people on the Chinese factory floor.

A new wave of industrial robots is in development, ranging from high-end humanoid machines with vision, touch and even learning capabilities, to low-cost robots vying to undercut China’s minimum wage.

Over the next five years these technologies will transform China’s factories, executives say, and also fill a growing labor shortage as the country’s youth become increasingly unwilling to perform manual labor. How the transformation plays out will also go a long way in deciding how much of the electronics supply chain remains in China.

However, robots won’t be able to give all the answers:

But some industry executives caution that China’s automation shift will likely take years and there are plenty of challenges, including the high price of advanced robots, continuing technical limitations and even the lack of flexibility that comes with bringing robots into the factory.

“If your orders decrease, you can lay off workers,” said Tim Li, senior vice president of Taiwanese PC contract manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc. “You can’t lay off robots.”

But the fact is that the trend is not going away:

“It’s clear that automation is the future trend in China, but the big question is how to bring down the costs for robots,” said Delta Chairman Yancey Hai in an interview. “We believe we can do that because we manufacture two-thirds of the components ourselves.”

Delta is testing a one-armed, four-jointed robot that can move objects, join components and complete similar tasks. By 2016, Delta hopes to sell a version for as little as $10,000, which would be less than half the cost of current mainstream robots.

That price is also cheaper than the salary of a Chinese worker, and the robot can work around the clock.

Two days ago, Gartner, a technology research firm based in Stamford, Conn. warmed of “upheaval” and social turmoil as this automation starts taking place. See Gartner’s dark vision for tech, jobs

Science fiction writers have long told of great upheaval as machines replace people. Now, so is research firm Gartner. The difference is that Gartner, which provides technology advice to many of the world’s largest companies, is putting in dates and recommending immediate courses of action.

The job impacts from innovation are arriving rapidly, according to Gartner. Unemployment, now at about 8%, will get worse. Occupy Wall Street-type protests will arrive as early as next year as machines increasingly replace middle-class workers in high cost, specialized jobs. In businesses, CIOs in particular, will face quandaries as they confront the social impact of their actions.

Machines have been replacing people since the agricultural revolution, so what’s new here?

In previous technological leaps, workers could train for a better job and achieve an improvement in their standard of living. But the “Digital Industrial Revolution,” as the analyst firm terms it, is attacking jobs at all levels, not just the lower rung. Smart machines, for example, can automate tasks to the point where they become self-learning systems.

Smart machines “are diagnosing cancer, they are prescribing cancer treatments,” said Kenneth Brandt, a Gartner analyst. These machines “can even deliver [treatment] to the room of the patient.”

Gartner sees all kinds of jobs being affected: Transportation systems, construction work, mining warehousing, health care, to name a few. With IT costs at 4% of sales for all industries, there’s very little left to cut in IT, but there is a great opportunity to cut labor.

“…a great opportunity to cut labor.”

It’s hard to say at this point how disruptive automation will be. Will it create more jobs or destroy more jobs? Honestly, I can’t answer that. But, there is not question in my mind that we’re witnessing the end of an era: robots are here to stay. And If anybody is still in denial, I’d suggest to watch the following video: How the Tesla Models S is Made (Credits to Mike Shedlock for originally posting this video)

Considering the fact that the percentage of the U.S. population that is employed is already far lower than it was a decade ago, it is frightening to think that tens of millions more jobs could disappear due to technological advances over the next couple of decades.  I have writtenextensively about how we are already losing millions of jobs to super cheap labor on the other side of the globe.  What are middle class families going to do as technology also takes away huge numbers of our jobs at an ever increasing pace?  We live during a period of history when knowledge is increasing an an exponential rate.  In the past, when human workers were displaced by technology it also created new kinds of jobs that the world had never seen before.  But what happens when the day arrives when computers and robots can do almost everything more cheaply and more efficiently than humans can?

For employers, there are a whole host of advantages that come with replacing human workers with technology.  Robots and computers never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time on Facebook, they don’t need any health benefits and there are a vast array of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.

If you could get a task done more cheaply and more efficiently by replacing a human worker with technology, why wouldn’t you want to do it?
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/oxford-professors-robots-and-computers-could-take-half-our-jobs-within-the-next-20-years/#4u1wWTelxxKF4v4S.99Considering the fact that the percentage of the U.S. population that is employed is already far lower than it was a decade ago, it is frightening to think that tens of millions more jobs could disappear due to technological advances over the next couple of decades. I have writtenextensively about how we are already losing millions of jobs to super cheap labor on the other side of the globe. What are middle class families going to do as technology also takes away huge numbers of our jobs at an ever increasing pace? We live during a period of history when knowledge is increasing an an exponential rate. In the past, when human workers were displaced by technology it also created new kinds of jobs that the world had never seen before. But what happens when the day arrives when computers and robots can do almost everything more cheaply and more efficiently than humans can?

For employers, there are a whole host of advantages that come with replacing human workers with technology. Robots and computers never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time on Facebook, they don’t need any health benefits and there are a vast array of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.

If you could get a task done more cheaply and more efficiently by replacing a human worker with technology, why wouldn’t you want to do it?

Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/oxford-professors-robots-and-computers-could-take-half-our-jobs-within-the-next-20-years/#4u1wWTelxxKF4v4S.99

Considering the fact that the percentage of the U.S. population that is employed is already far lower than it was a decade ago, it is frightening to think that tens of millions more jobs could disappear due to technological advances over the next couple of decades.  I have writtenextensively about how we are already losing millions of jobs to super cheap labor on the other side of the globe.  What are middle class families going to do as technology also takes away huge numbers of our jobs at an ever increasing pace?  We live during a period of history when knowledge is increasing an an exponential rate.  In the past, when human workers were displaced by technology it also created new kinds of jobs that the world had never seen before.  But what happens when the day arrives when computers and robots can do almost everything more cheaply and more efficiently than humans can?

For employers, there are a whole host of advantages that come with replacing human workers with technology.  Robots and computers never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time on Facebook, they don’t need any health benefits and there are a vast array of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.

If you could get a task done more cheaply and more efficiently by replacing a human worker with technology, why wouldn’t you want to do it?
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/oxford-professors-robots-and-computers-could-take-half-our-jobs-within-the-next-20-years/#4u1wWTelxxKF4v4S.99

Considering the fact that the percentage of the U.S. population that is employed is already far lower than it was a decade ago, it is frightening to think that tens of millions more jobs could disappear due to technological advances over the next couple of decades.  I have writtenextensively about how we are already losing millions of jobs to super cheap labor on the other side of the globe.  What are middle class families going to do as technology also takes away huge numbers of our jobs at an ever increasing pace?  We live during a period of history when knowledge is increasing an an exponential rate.  In the past, when human workers were displaced by technology it also created new kinds of jobs that the world had never seen before.  But what happens when the day arrives when computers and robots can do almost everything more cheaply and more efficiently than humans can?

For employers, there are a whole host of advantages that come with replacing human workers with technology.  Robots and computers never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time on Facebook, they don’t need any health benefits and there are a vast array of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.

If you could get a task done more cheaply and more efficiently by replacing a human worker with technology, why wouldn’t you want to do it?
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/oxford-professors-robots-and-computers-could-take-half-our-jobs-within-the-next-20-years/#4u1wWTelxxKF4v4S.99

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