The automation of human labor is as old as the Industrial Revolution. From the steam engine and the cotton gin to the desktop computer and the robotic welder, machines have enabled leaps of efficiency that create far more jobs than they destroy. And yet many economists and technologists believe that things are different this time, that society is entering a new and troubling phase as computing power and other advances make possible the creation of ever-more-powerful robots. What if the economic growth of the future produces more jobs for more robots, leaving humans behind? What if we’re heading toward a future in which a handful of creative humans marshal an army of ever-more-intelligent machines while everyone else languishes? How does the world work without … work?….
“Computers (hardware, software, and networks) are only going to get more powerful and capable in the future, and have an ever-bigger impact on jobs, skills, and the economy. The root of our problems is not that we’re in a Great Recession, or a Great Stagnation, but rather that we are in the early throes of a Great Restructuring.
SOURCE: Will Robots Take Our Jobs? – TIME.
The Industrial Revolution, which started well over a hundred years ago has always been about jobs disappearing and jobs being created. When the automobile came on the scene people who made buggy whips and carriages saw their jobs evaporate. When food supermarkets came on the scene in the 1950s many small speciality food places vanished. Let’s just face it progress means some jobs disappear while others are created.
There are those who will adamantly fight such change. They will make it their life’s objective to fight against the inevitable turmoil that change causes. They will fight for the status quo. They just don’t like change. They will fight change in all its forms. As a result their lives are generally spent in anguish.
And then there are others who see change and embrace it. They see new opportunities instead of lost stability. Fortunately younger generations are more adaptable to change than older ones. I certainly recognize that many in my generation are the primary fighters against change.
The above quote is pretty negative in nature and that only re-enforces those who resist change. Even though most of the years of my life are behind me I still look at what is happening today as just a transition into a more fulfilling life for future generations. Yes, the totally mind boring hour-after-hour labor that was so easily obtained in my early work years is almost exclusively being taken over by robots. In order to find meaningful and adequate monetary employment will mean a paradigm shift for how we approach preparation for our working years in the future.
Yes, we are likely in the throes of a Great Restructuring. The end of the twenty-first century will likely be dramatically different as was the beginning of the twentieth century compared to now.
I will end this post with a verse from a song of one of my heroes in my college years. He seemed to be able to say things that no one else could. I will let you guess who that is. 🙂
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.