How Technology Is Destroying Jobs

tech-job-killDavid Rotman writes:  Given his calm and reasoned academic demeanor, it is easy to miss just how provocative Erik Brynjolfsson’s contention really is. ­Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.

Economic theory and government policy will have to be rethought if technology is indeed destroying jobs faster than it is creating new ones.

That robots, automation, and software can replace people might seem obvious to anyone who’s worked in automotive manufacturing or as a travel agent. But Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s claim is more troubling and controversial. They believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States. And, they suspect, something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries.

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Are Robots Killing The Middle Class?

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More wishful thinking on joblessness

 writes: A few years back, President Barack Obama claimed that America was experiencing “structural issues with our economy.” It wasn’t simply that inflexible Republicans were standing in the way of prosperity but that “a lot of businesses” had become more efficient. “You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM,” he went on, “you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”

That didn’t seem right. Innovation creates jobs, drives output and growth and improves the quality of goods, services and our lives. Or, at least, that’s the theory economists have been peddling. Read the rest of this entry »