Business

It’s Not China We Need Worry About Taking Our Jobs…

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A lot of American jobs have gone to China, that is for sure. And President Trump’s quest to reverse that trend is long overdue.

But – and this might sound a little too much like sci-fi – the real long-term threat to American jobs is robotics.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and the like are hugely popular areas of research and development right now. The goal, of course, is automation.

When that automation is helping us get things done or avoid mundane tasks, it is a benefit. When it’s taking over our jobs, not so much.

Machines – robots and computers – are simply faster at doing a lot of production jobs than humans. And they don’t need to be paid a salary. Which means most companies, whose only real concern is their bottom line, will pick a machine over a human, every time.

“It actually kind of ticked me off because it’s like, ‘How are we supposed to make a living?'” one woman told the New York Times.

Too Late For Some

She acknowledged that there is a whole new industry of jobs around building and programming those machines. But all those jobs are going to the 20- and 30-somethings who grew up with computers and robots.

Your average, middle-age American worker just can’t compete.

Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, had this to say about the benefits of robot employees:

“They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”

But the real problem, according David Autor, an economist at MIT, is simply that with machines “we require many fewer workers to do the same amount of work.”

In many companies today, human employees are just supervisors for the robots doing the real work.

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