When it comes to predicting what automation will do to the human workforce, there are two popular lines of wisdom.
- People have said for decades that this or that would remove the need for human work. Marx said it would happen after the industrial revolution. They said computers would do it. Yet here we are, with billions still working.
- Horses also thought they’d always have jobs moving people from place to place. Wagons, buggies, rickshaws. There were horses who said those would kill off horse jobs. But did they? Nope. It’s 1900 and there they are going strong.
So which is it?
Do we have another Marx situation where humans just find other work to do after computers/automation/AI takes most of the current jobs?
Or is this humanity’s Horse to Car event?
All the previous threats to horses were false. But the Henry Ford threat was not. It was real. And it ended the days of horse-based transportation after millennia.
We hear people making both arguments all the time, and it’s always in a really sarcastic way. Like they have the winning argument…obviously.
But nobody really knows which it’ll be.
Me personally, I’m leaning towards a Henry Ford event. I think it’s for real this time. I think Marx was correct, but it wasn’t the industrial revolution that did it—it’s going to be AI and automation.
That’s my belief. But it’s just that—an opinion.
I love hearing arguments for both sides. If you know any good ones, especially those that disagree with me, do let me know.