Closing in on the Robot Age! But it this a good thing?

Ever see those futuristic movies where robots roam freely in a happy Utopian society? Those images are racing upon us but a society that benefits more with robots maybe more fiction than fact. Technological breakthroughs has fostered an uprising in machine ability allowing them to perform knowledge and service jobs. Consequently, this breakthrough has negative externalities in the job market for lower income individuals. The biggest scare for economists is that robots will replace people in lower and middle class jobs.

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Machines that can mimic the human mind will drive workers out of the labor force and reduce the share of working age adults. Organizations of economic cooperation and development have reported that Americans workforce are acquiring skills at a slower rate than other countries and past statistics. Additionally, a recent New York times poll of Americans between 27 and 54 illustrated that 37 percent of the sample were out of work due to technological replacements. With the lack of acquiring skills and the dilemma of structural and frictional unemployment, the American labor force can be projected to dwindle.

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Australian Outback, for example, uses self-driving trucks for ore mines that will soon be able to carry ore to a port at least 300 miles away. A system this prominent in America will crush the job market for truck drivers, who are well in the middle class range of 25,000 to 76,500.

Though production and wealth may increase, Automation will allow America to produce more with less workers. Some economist argue that this boom in technology and wealth will simply create income inequality and keep lower paying jobs stagnant.  They state that it will simply polarize the labor market but that seems to be a rather optimistic outlook.

Many middle and lower class jobs still require a considerable amount of education and skill to enter the job market now. With education and skill acquisition already being a factor, removing the availability of these jobs by introducing robots will only produce more problems with unemployment. New jobs may stem from the advancement of technology, but what is the likely hood that understanding and then writing the linguistics of technologies software will be any easier. Maybe there’s a way to slow down this technology boom. I mean did I, Robot and Terminator not scare us enough?

-Kalif Raymond

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/02/17/the-robots-are-coming-for-your-paycheck/

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/02/25/be-calm-robots-arent-about-to-take-your-job-mit-economist-says/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/what-clever-robots-mean-for-jobs-1424835002

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/upshot/as-robots-grow-smarter-american-workers-struggle-to-keep-up.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

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3 thoughts on “Closing in on the Robot Age! But it this a good thing?

  1. richardbarber68

    This is an interesting blog post on new technology. I feel that this is something that is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is new technology would create smoother transitions for many aspects of life. Things become easier and more efficient. The curse is structural unemployment. People that are not highly skilled will eventually have trouble finding another job without trying to aquire new skills.

    Reply
  2. Victor Matheson

    Nice post with good visuals. I think this may be an even bigger socialogical problem than an economic one. We can always redistribute income to the technologically jobless, but can we redistribute self-worth. Maybe the bigger terror is the cruise ship in Wall-E rather than Arnold in T2.

    Reply
  3. jackcurran7

    This is both an interesting and kind of scary post. As Rich points out, technological advances usually create greater efficiency, but at what cost? If it keeps lower/middle class workers out of the workforce, can we justify the utilization of “robots” in the labor force?

    Reply

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