Robots vs. Middle-class jobs

A recent blog post by James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "Is automation really the worst enemy of the US middle class?," adds perspective to the ongoing debate over how much impact robots and automation have on jobs:

Automation is kind of​ like alcohol, which, ​as Homer Simpson puts it, is “t​he cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” It’s the job of policymakers to make sure workers are read​y​ to climb to the next foothold or ledge as the waters of automation continue to rise. It’s also their job to make sure policy is as supportive as possible of innovation. Indeed, we need more tech progress, not less. “The U.S. economy currently suffers not from too much automation, but rather from too little investment in the sort of technology that would raise the country’s lackluster productivity,” writes​ Derek Thompson ​in an excellent new piece ​at ​t​he Atlantic.

Technology will erase jobs but also create them. Unfortunately, as Kevin Kelly writes, we can’t see those jobs from here “because we can’t yet see the machines and technologies that will make them.”

He also includes this chart, from an Axios article he cites:

Washington Research Council automation middle class

 

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