How Far Will Businesses Go to Automate the Middle Class into Unemployment?
Competition is driving companies to automate more and more middle-class jobs. Sectors of the economy like legal research and nursing are being "hallowed out" says an MIT economist.
What's the Latest Development?
To become more efficient, businesses are automating more and more jobs once done by humans. Will that open new economic sectors or just aggravate current wealth inequities—or both? "Amazon, for example, paid $775 million for Kiva Systems, a company that makes robotic dollies that zip across warehouse floors carrying shelves full of goods. Kiva found it was more productive to have the humans who 'pick, pack, and stow' items stay in one place and let intelligent shelves come to them." Amazon purchased the company in order to reduce labor requirements in dozens of its warehouses.
What's the Big Idea?
The US economy has evolved from one based on agriculture to manufacturing to service jobs, with job losses in one sector being replaced by gains in the subsequent rising industry. But how long will that trend hold? MIT economist David Autor argues that it's the jobs in the middle that are disappearing: "certain clerical, sales, and administrative jobs and some on factory floors." To be sure, "among the 10 fastest-growing new job categories between 2009 and 2011, seven have the word 'computer' or 'software' in them," but how large can the new automation industry become (before automating human jobs becomes something machines do more efficiently that human workers)?
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.
- Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
- Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
- Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.