Automation is destroying jobs faster than it is creating new ones. So is there hope for those who are employed and even those who are still searching for jobs?
Let’s get the opinion of Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-author of “The Second Machine Age”, a book that asks what kinds of jobs will be left once software takes over jobs that were traditionally in the domain of human like translating speech, driving cars, and other similar tasks.
Dystopia is one of the outcomes foreseen by Brynjolfsson, but why did it cross his mind? The advent of steam engine or power loom never robbed men of labour permanently. So what makes today different? According to Brynjolfsson, the difference comes in the way in which digital technologies grow in power as well as with signs that computers are already reducing the need for human input in some areas.
Gordon Moore, the Intel co-founder had noted the exponential rise in the capabilities of computer chips. He spotted that the number of transistors packed into a chip doubles about every 18 months making the chips more and more powerful.
Brynjolfsson has identified some technologies that might take over your job including a robotic humanoid torso with arms, claw-like grips and head with an LCD face. Baxter, as it is called, was designed by to replace factory line workers who perform repetitive tasks. It can even be trained to take up new tasks and that is a cause for every employed or unemployed individual to worry.
Other technologies include the Kiva Systems bots that are designed to lift items from shelves in the office, the Double telepresence robot, and the Google’s self-driving car.
Brynjolfsson says the rate of technological change is of a different order in the information age to the industrial revolution.