The Robots Are Coming, But Are They Really Taking Our Jobs?
Here’s what we can agree on: The robots are coming. They’re coming to your house, to your doctor’s office, to your car, and to your favorite coffee shop. By 2025, technologists believe artificial intelligence will permeate wide swaths of day-to-day life.
And, obviously, these robots are going to take some human jobs. Machines have been displacing humans this way for centuries. What’s less clear is whether the overall economic and employment picture for humans will be bleaker or brighter as a result.
In a survey the Pew Research Center published today, nearly 2,000 technologists, engineers, and other experts were “deeply divided” on how advances in artificial
intelligence will change the economy.
On one hand, giving robots some human jobs will free up humans to focus on things that only we can do. Then again, while some highly-skilled workers will thrive in this robot-filled future, many, many others are likely to be forced into lower-paying jobs at best—“or permanent unemployment at worst.”
And the experts are fairly evenly split on what this will mean for society. About 48 percent of them said they believe robots will have displaced “significant” number of blue-collar and white-collar workers in the next 10 years, which will widen the income gap, exacerbate unemployment, and make life generally worse for a lot of people. But 52 percent of those surveyed predict that robots won’t displace more jobs than they create by 2025. While many existing jobs will be turned over to the machines, this cohort says, “human ingenuity will create new jobs, industries, and ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.”
Robots (applying the term broadly) have been replacing workers for decades now. Just go look at an auto assembly line. Or check out this start-to-finish hamburger making machine (not online yet, but I’m sure they’ll show up at BK & McD’s eventually).
Modest proposal; how about pay Social Security & unemployment taxes on automation, based on the number of workers it replaces?