If our economy is based on people buying goods and services, people having money to spend requires them having a job, then isn’t automation a direct threat to the economy?
This seems obvious, yet very few are aware of the problem.
Most believe that automation will only affect a small percentage of the jobs economy, and those who do have their jobs automated away will simply do something that can’t be automated.
CGP Grey has a brilliant presentation called Humans Need Not Apply, which I’ve recommended before. In it he gives some stats that need to be seen by…well, everyone.
These jobs represent the top jobs in America by the number of people who perform them. They also represent 45% of the workforce. To put that in context, during the Great Depression only 25% of people were unemployed, and it was a catastrophe.
When you consider that many of the jobs on the list are highly vulnerable to automation—not the least of which being transportation jobs at the top of the list—it’s clear to see that we have a problem.
So, no. This issue is not theoretical or science fiction. It is real, and it is upon us.
- Job data from CGP Grey’s presentation above, which I believe came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Image from outsourcemagazine.co.uk.