Future State of Large-Scale Technological Unemployment

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A Future State of Large-Scale Technological Unemployment is a future societal state with mass unemployment that is largely attributed to technological unemployment causes.






  • (Ford, 2013) ⇒ Martin Ford. (2013). “Could Artificial Intelligence Create An Unemployment Crisis?." In: Communications of the ACM Journal, 56(7). doi:10.1145/2483852.2483865
    • QUOTE: It is important to realize technology does not have to cause immediate job destruction in order to create significant future unemployment. The U.S. economy needs to generate in excess of 100,000 new jobs per month just to keep up with population growth. As a result, anything that significantly slows the rate of ongoing job creation could have a significant impact over the long term. Because workers are also consumers, entrenched technological unemployment would be very likely to depress consumer spending and confidence — thereby spawning a wave of secondary job losses that would affect even occupations not directly susceptible to automation.4

      I suspect the impact of accelerating technology on the job market may ultimately represent a dramatic and vastly under-acknowledged challenge for both our economy and society. Many extremely difficult issues would arise, including finding ways for people to occupy their time and remain productive in a world where work was becoming less available and less essential. The biggest immediate challenge, however, would be one of income distribution: how will people without jobs and incomes support themselves, and how will they be able to participate in the market and help drive the broad-based consumer demand that it vital to sustained economic prosperity and innovation?

      Finally, it is worth noting everything I have suggested here might be thought of as the "weak case" for technological disruption of the job market. I have presumed only that narrow, specialized forms of machine intelligence will increasing eliminate more routine jobs. None of these technologies would be generally intelligent or could pass a Turing test. Yet, the more speculative possibility of strong AI cannot be completely discounted. If, someday, machines can match or even exceed the ability of a human being to think and to conceive new ideas — while at the same time enjoying all the advantages of a computer in areas like computational speed and data access — then it becomes somewhat difficult to imagine just what jobs might be left for even the most capable human workers.

  • (Economist, 2013) ⇒ The Economist. (2013). "Real robot talk." In: The Economist, Labour Markets, Mar 1st 2013.
    • QUOTE: If society wishes to avoid such an outcome, the only real option is redistribution and a lot of it. ...

      The point is that "technological unemployment" may become an effective reality given lagging wages for less-skilled workers, sufficient to eliminate the incentive to find a job and given reasonable (though not particularly attractive) alternatives. It's not a certainty that things will develop this way. But it's a realistic enough possibility that societies should begin thinking significantly about how to reform and improve their welfare states : to substantially upgrade education, to provide for the best possible work incentives, and to secure finances for the foreseeable future.

      Technological progress sufficient to cause these kinds of dislocations should also generate overall economic gains large enough to make everyone better off. But just because everyone could be made better off by progress doesn't mean that everyone will be made better off. There must be an institutional framework in place to ensure that the gains from growth are shared.

  • (Drum, 2013) ⇒ Kevin Drum. (2013). "Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don't Fire Us?." In: Mother Jones, May 13, 2013.
    • QUOTE: It's one thing to suggest that robots are going to cause mass unemployment starting in 2030 or so. We'd have some time to come to grips with that. But the evidence suggests that — slowly, haltingly — it's happening already, and we're simply not prepared for it. ...

      ... When the robot revolution finally starts to happen, it's going to happen fast, and it's going to turn our world upside down.

  • (The Economist, 2013-08-25) ⇒ Labour Markets. (2013-08-25). "On 'bullshit jobs'." In: The Economist.
    • QUOTE: ... there is a decent chance that "bullshit" administrative jobs are merely a halfway house between "bullshit" industrial jobs and no jobs at all. Not because of the conniving of rich interests, but because machines inevitably outmatch humans at handling bullshit without complaining.