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Robotic Nation

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On July 26, 2003 @ 9:09 am In Current Affairs,Finance,Web/Tech | Comments Disabled

Marshall Brain has put up an absolutely fascinating — and economically scary — piece titled Robotic Nation [1]. After experiencing a self serve McDoanlds kiosk, he extrapolates that experience to its logical conclusion.

In Marshall’s view, (or at least one possible logical conclusion), the ultimate end result is a mass wave of displacement of Humans. He expects “we are about to see a seismic shift in the American workforce. As a nation, we have no way to understand or handle the level of unemployment that we will see in our economy over the next several decades. These kiosks and self-service systems are the beginning of the robotic revolution.”

In addition to the many other factors I’ve identified keeping job creation down — productivity enhancements, globalization, excess capacity left over from the popped bubble — you can now add replacement of workers by robotic/PCs to the mix.

Back on June 19th, I discussed the issue of how productivity paradoxically (“ New Productivity Paradox [2]“) is working against job creation. Total human replacement could be the ultimate Productivity enhancer.

Marshall doesn’t really go into all the jobs the robot producing industry will create; They will obviously be greatly fewer in numbers but higher paying than the millions of low paying jobs they will be displacing.

Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2003/07/robotic-nation/

URLs in this post:

[1] Robotic Nation: http://marshallbrain.com/robotic-nation.htm

[2] New Productivity Paradox : http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2003/07/new_productivit.html

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