Source: NY Times


Steven Rattner:

“in the sweep of history, the human condition barely improved for centuries, until the early days of the industrial revolution, when transformational new technologies (the robots of their day) were introduced.

Consider the case of agriculture, after the arrival of tractors, combines and scientific farming methods. A century ago, about 30 percent of Americans labored on farms; today, the United States is the world’s biggest exporter of agricultural products, even though the sector employs just 2 percent of Americans.

The trick is not to protect old jobs, as the Luddites who endeavored to smash all machinery sought to do, but to create new ones. And since the invention of the wheel, that’s what has occurred.”

Category: Employment, Technology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

13 Responses to “Will a Robot Take Your Job?”

  1. Bob K. says:

    LOL, nearly every job on the right is under assault from automation.

    • willid3 says:

      some of them are.

      but more are under assault from importing labor than automation. and given time, and enough money, they can actually import more labor reducing the cost of it (seen that first hand).

      which can also reduce the other jobs on the right as the number of potential customers dwindles

  2. krice2001 says:

    It appears as though the pace of change in job requirements is faster than it’s possible to adjust the attributes of those needing jobs. And that the ability of “industry” and creative people to create new jobs is having trouble competing with technology’s ability to destroy them. And many of the jobs being created with living wages or better are specialized and high skill and come with high education costs (Medicine, Nursing, Engineering, Law, Information Technology) which creates some significant barriers to entry and filters out those without the means or aptitude for those jobs.

    Not sure how we deal with that. I guess I’m not alone in being unsure how to address it.

    • willid3 says:

      thats the $64 trillion question.

      what replaces all of the current jobs.

      and when asked, nobody knows. some point to the past as how it will work out. but considering how much more education and planning need to be done to get those new jobs ..hard to study for unknown jobs

  3. ironman says:

    There’s definitely a balance between automation technology and labor. Earlier this year, we did some business math on whether it makes more sense for an employer to replace a minimum wage worker with automated technology, but we’re going to have to revisit that topic soon because we didn’t factor in how incorporating automation technology in a business can generate enough new revenue to offset a rising cost of employment.

  4. constantnormal says:

    Eventually, yes … but is that necessarily a bad thing?  I think that most people would say that replacing miners with robots would be a big step forward — unless you are a miner with no other way to make a living …

    Every job has some aspect of it that nobody enjoys, be it boredom, dangerous or unpleasant working conditions, long hours, exposure to dangerous substances — that’s why it is called “work”.  

    If people enjoyed it so much that they would come to “work” for the fun of it, it would be called “vacation”, and people would pay to do it.

    The only thing that prevents us from moving to a better system of distributing the fruits of civilization to the people of that civilization is the Pyramid of Labor model of Capitalism, and the handful of people at the top, who enjoy a disproportionate share of the benefits. Is Wall Street really the best we can do in directing the flow of money toward making society work better and moving us forward?

    Eventually, enough people are displaced and discarded by automation that we will have a sufficient body of unhappy, unemployed, disenfranchised people to bring about a Bananamerican Spring, with the associated riots and civil wars that accompany such things.

    But unless somebody spends a lot of time pondering the problems of society, and devises something to replace capitalism and the pyramid of labor — not necessarily socialism, surely we can devise a scheme that better fits a fully automated 21st century society (but maybe not, modern socialism seems to be working pretty well for the Germans and the Scandinavians) — unless we change our system of distributing profits, we will revert to the time-honored system of revolt and revolution to do so …

  5. ciwood says:

    How many carpenters lost jobs to nail gun and saw technology advances?

  6. bigsteve says:

    I work in the utility industry. We are automated to the hilt. We use computers for data collection and control. But you still need human supervision as conditions are too complicated and unpredictable for a program to handle adequately. And people still have to make in field repairs and modifications.Fewer people are employed but they are much more skilled and multi-crafted. In fact there is a shortage of skilled , experience workers. Part of the reason is it takes gifted intellects to master the various disciplines. Homer Simpson is 180 degree opposite of reality. Industry has not decline in the United States but has gone through the transformation that Agriculture went through early in the twentieth century. Automation with fewer but more skilled workers.

  7. temoore53 says:

    Assuming, of course, that past performance is an indicator of future results.

  8. BennyProfane says:

    Of course Rattner is going to argue for technology. He’s a finance guy who is another rent seeker looking for the next little gold mine to invest in, and that’s some stupid app these days. Probably never worked with his hands or sweated at labor his entire life. What does he care if he’s eventually wrong, and technology actually is killing jobs much more than creating them, which I think is the case. His kids will be living off his ill gotten gains for decades, and probably their children, too.

    This is not a zero sum game, as some apologists for the class divide want you to believe. Re: Detroit. Buffalo. Syracuse. Cleveland. Akron. ……. you get the point.

  9. krice2001 says:

    Wow, constantnormal, you seem to think a lot like I do….

  10. couragesd says:

    I agree with Krice2001. I think that although the growth is in IT..ish related postions, most c-suite executives would be hard pressed to define the skill set required in those jobs. Most of the executives have graduated to their positions with very little or no back ground or understanding of IT. Partially because of their age and partially because where they focus their efforts. Also the IT space is very crowded between proprietary and open source tools. To get from point a to point b may require skills in any one, if not multiple sets of those tools. Which by the way, are changing yearly. It is almost impossible for anyone, including IT folks to keep up. I am a data scientist. Usually the executive can describe what they think they want because of buzz in the papers or trade mags but they have no idea the scope of the project. Also, because they are simply surrounded by tech now. From the IT side, imagine trying to build a house with the budget for a staple gun and only having a chop saw. Finally, the manual/low paying side to this will be in data quality and data acquisition. I don’t think that the breadth of software and available tools will slow down any time soon. I am a bit at a loss for a solution. I think we are in the teenage phase and we just have to wait until everyone decides that they can’t stand trying out a new hairdo every six months….