The Robots Are Coming, But Are They Really Taking Our Jobs?


The Atlantic:

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.”

Stupid article.

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?


Robots may take some jobs, but they creat other jobs (from idea to building to programing to testing). :smiley:


What the article seems to be saying is that there is a divide about whether jobs will thrive or whether they will be fewer. I believe that they will take away the unskilled labor so that many (not only kids, but adults with children and elderly) won’t be able to work. So employment which still isn’t good after the “recession” will be worse.


I think they take more jobs than they create. What troubles me most is they are part of the reason for the development of such an apathetic, indifferent society.

Just the other day I took my dad to the ER. Well guess what: They wanted him to check himself in using a kiosk. I blew my fuse to say the least. They have no place in an ER.

When we go to the ER we are not on top of our game. With factors of confusion, pain, fear and panic, it is just plain ignorant to expect the patient to do this.

Just because we can do a lot of things with computers and robots or machines does not mean that we should or that it is the best way to go. We have to find a way to remain human in all of this, and right now I think we are losing that.


Definitely not in an ER. Having worked at a major hospital, patients need a human being. They need human reassurance, human answers to their questions and confidence in the person taking care of them.

I’m sure I can find a cost/benefit analysis for robots that are being planned. Nobody’s going to McDonald’s if they’re out of work. Or Target. Or…

The population in the US is aging. The median age is mid to late 30’s. The mislabeled ‘fertility rate’ (how many babies people are having) is below the replacement level. So, aside from immigration, population growth should slow down or actually begin to drop, if that trend continues.

The fewer the jobs, the less people buy. I’m sure the planners are aware of this.



I think technology is going to have advance greatly before that can happen. Machines & computers malfunction and can’t think abstractly. They might take away some types of jobs, like those that are mainly menial repetative tasks, but I don’t think there is much fear of them ever replacing jobs that require abstract thought or emotion.


Sez who?
That may have happened after previous technological revolutions but that doesn’t mean it will happen now. Jobs have vanished, never to return. Worker productivity has gone up and up for decades with no real increase in wages.
All corporations have to do to stay profitable is serve the top 20% (by income).


This is not a new issue, since 30 years ago people were asking the same questions about robots on the assembly lines. One thing that is clear from the past thirty years is that there will be increasing income inequality based on job skills. Those that have marketable skills will probably do well. Those that don’t will not.


Tyler Cowen has a good analysis of this issue:


The day robots can act human enough to take my job, they won’t want it.


I can’t agree with that. Robots are becoming far more sophisticated rapidly. Individual parts like legs and arms are being designed that will mimic or have greater strength than any human arm or leg. Robots are being developed with learning feedback programming. It can receive an image of an object or part it needs to interact with followed by instructions as to what to do with it. In this example, the robot figures out, through trial and error, the best way to handle the job. Robots that can learn are on the horizon. The US, UK and China are building human brains right now using electronics to mimic actual human brain function. Meanwhile, brain mapping associated with various tasks is increasing. This knowledge base will help future robots to learn. Eventually, robots will be building robots.

As long as they have a power supply, they do not need food, or rest or sleep. Of course, built-in monitors will alert a human or other robot to impending part failure or malfunctions in general. If a robot shuts off for no reason, another can be activated and work until the previous robot is diagnosed and either returned to service or scrapped.

The planners are well aware of this and are constructing economic scenarios to balance the best use of robots against the need for real people to earn an income. The military will be the primary users of the most advanced versions. Even businesses will be prohibited from using certain types of robots. Robots will be soldiers in the near future.



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