Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor

Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor

Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Joanna Pietrulewicz Here’s a startling fact: in the 45 years since the introduction
of the automated teller machine, those vending machines that dispense cash, the number of human bank tellers
employed in the United States has roughly doubled, from about a quarter of a million
to a half a million. A quarter of a million in 1970
to about a half a million today, with 100,000 added since the year 2000. These facts, revealed in a recent book by Boston University
economist James Bessen, raise an intriguing question: what are all those tellers doing, and why hasn’t automation
eliminated their employment by now? If you think about it, many of the great inventions
of the last 200 years were designed to replace human labor. Tractors were developed to substitute mechanical power
for human physical toil. Assembly lines were engineered to replace inconsistent human handiwork with machine perfection. Computers were programmed to swap out error-prone, inconsistent
human calculation with digital perfection. These inventions have worked. We no longer dig ditches by hand, pound tools out of wrought iron or do bookkeeping using actual books. And yet, the fraction of US adults
employed in the labor market is higher now in 2016 than it was 125 years ago, in 1890, and it’s risen in just about every decade in the intervening 125 years. This poses a paradox. Our machines increasingly
do our work for us. Why doesn’t this make our labor redundant
and our skills obsolete? Why are there still so many jobs? (Laughter) I’m going to try to answer
that question tonight, and along the way, I’m going to tell you
what this means for the future of work and the challenges that automation
does and does not pose for our society. Why are there so many jobs? There are actually two fundamental
economic principles at stake. One has to do with human genius and creativity. The other has to do
with human insatiability, or greed, if you like. I’m going to call the first of these
the O-ring principle, and it determines
the type of work that we do. The second principle
is the never-get-enough principle, and it determines how many jobs
there actually are. Let’s start with the O-ring. ATMs, automated teller machines, had two countervailing effects
on bank teller employment. As you would expect,
they replaced a lot of teller tasks. The number of tellers per branch
fell by about a third. But banks quickly discovered that it
also was cheaper to open new branches, and the number of bank branches
increased by about 40 percent in the same time period. The net result was more branches
and more tellers. But those tellers were doing
somewhat different work. As their routine,
cash-handling tasks receded, they became less like checkout clerks and more like salespeople, forging relationships with customers, solving problems and introducing them to new products
like credit cards, loans and investments: more tellers doing
a more cognitively demanding job. There’s a general principle here. Most of the work that we do requires a multiplicity of skills, and brains and brawn, technical expertise and intuitive mastery, perspiration and inspiration
in the words of Thomas Edison. In general, automating
some subset of those tasks doesn’t make the other ones unnecessary. In fact, it makes them more important. It increases their economic value. Let me give you a stark example. In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded and crashed back down to Earth less than two minutes after takeoff. The cause of that crash, it turned out, was an inexpensive rubber O-ring
in the booster rocket that had frozen on the launchpad
the night before and failed catastrophically
moments after takeoff. In this multibillion dollar enterprise that simple rubber O-ring made the difference
between mission success and the calamitous death
of seven astronauts. An ingenious metaphor
for this tragic setting is the O-ring production function, named by Harvard economist Michael Kremer after the Challenger disaster. The O-ring production function
conceives of the work as a series of interlocking steps, links in a chain. Every one of those links must hold
for the mission to succeed. If any of them fails, the mission, or the product
or the service, comes crashing down. This precarious situation
has a surprisingly positive implication, which is that improvements in the reliability
of any one link in the chain increases the value
of improving any of the other links. Concretely, if most of the links
are brittle and prone to breakage, the fact that your link
is not that reliable is not that important. Probably something else will break anyway. But as all the other links
become robust and reliable, the importance of your link
becomes more essential. In the limit, everything depends upon it. The reason the O-ring was critical
to space shuttle Challenger is because everything else
worked perfectly. If the Challenger were
kind of the space era equivalent of Microsoft Windows 2000 — (Laughter) the reliability of the O-ring
wouldn’t have mattered because the machine would have crashed. (Laughter) Here’s the broader point. In much of the work that we do,
we are the O-rings. Yes, ATMs could do
certain cash-handling tasks faster and better than tellers, but that didn’t make tellers superfluous. It increased the importance
of their problem-solving skills and their relationships with customers. The same principle applies
if we’re building a building, if we’re diagnosing
and caring for a patient, or if we are teaching a class to a roomful of high schoolers. As our tools improve, technology magnifies our leverage and increases the importance
of our expertise and our judgment and our creativity. And that brings me
to the second principle: never get enough. You may be thinking, OK, O-ring, got it, that says the jobs that people do
will be important. They can’t be done by machines,
but they still need to be done. But that doesn’t tell me
how many jobs there will need to be. If you think about it,
isn’t it kind of self-evident that once we get sufficiently
productive at something, we’ve basically
worked our way out of a job? In 1900, 40 percent of all US employment was on farms. Today, it’s less than two percent. Why are there so few farmers today? It’s not because we’re eating less. (Laughter) A century of productivity
growth in farming means that now,
a couple of million farmers can feed a nation of 320 million. That’s amazing progress, but it also means there are
only so many O-ring jobs left in farming. So clearly, technology can eliminate jobs. Farming is only one example. There are many others like it. But what’s true about a single product
or service or industry has never been true
about the economy as a whole. Many of the industries
in which we now work — health and medicine, finance and insurance, electronics and computing — were tiny or barely existent
a century ago. Many of the products
that we spend a lot of our money on — air conditioners, sport utility vehicles, computers and mobile devices — were unattainably expensive, or just hadn’t been invented
a century ago. As automation frees our time,
increases the scope of what is possible, we invent new products,
new ideas, new services that command our attention, occupy our time and spur consumption. You may think some
of these things are frivolous — extreme yoga, adventure tourism, Pokémon GO — and I might agree with you. But people desire these things,
and they’re willing to work hard for them. The average worker in 2015 wanting to attain
the average living standard in 1915 could do so by working
just 17 weeks a year, one third of the time. But most people don’t choose to do that. They are willing to work hard to harvest the technological bounty
that is available to them. Material abundance has never
eliminated perceived scarcity. In the words of economist
Thorstein Veblen, invention is the mother of necessity. Now … So if you accept these two principles, the O-ring principle
and the never-get-enough principle, then you agree with me. There will be jobs. Does that mean there’s
nothing to worry about? Automation, employment, robots and jobs — it’ll all take care of itself? No. That is not my argument. Automation creates wealth by allowing us to do
more work in less time. There is no economic law that says that we
will use that wealth well, and that is worth worrying about. Consider two countries, Norway and Saudi Arabia. Both oil-rich nations, it’s like they have money
spurting out of a hole in the ground. (Laughter) But they haven’t used that wealth
equally well to foster human prosperity, human prospering. Norway is a thriving democracy. By and large, its citizens
work and play well together. It’s typically numbered
between first and fourth in rankings of national happiness. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy in which many citizens
lack a path for personal advancement. It’s typically ranked 35th
among nations in happiness, which is low for such a wealthy nation. Just by way of comparison, the US is typically ranked
around 12th or 13th. The difference between these two countries is not their wealth and it’s not their technology. It’s their institutions. Norway has invested to build a society with opportunity and economic mobility. Saudi Arabia has raised living standards while frustrating
many other human strivings. Two countries, both wealthy, not equally well off. And this brings me
to the challenge that we face today, the challenge that
automation poses for us. The challenge is not
that we’re running out of work. The US has added 14 million jobs since the depths of the Great Recession. The challenge is that many of those jobs are not good jobs, and many citizens
cannot qualify for the good jobs that are being created. Employment growth in the United States
and in much of the developed world looks something like a barbell with increasing poundage
on either end of the bar. On the one hand, you have high-education, high-wage jobs like doctors and nurses,
programmers and engineers, marketing and sales managers. Employment is robust in these jobs,
employment growth. Similarly, employment growth
is robust in many low-skill, low-education jobs like food service, cleaning, security, home health aids. Simultaneously, employment is shrinking in many middle-education,
middle-wage, middle-class jobs, like blue-collar production
and operative positions and white-collar
clerical and sales positions. The reasons behind this contracting middle are not mysterious. Many of those middle-skill jobs use well-understood rules and procedures that can increasingly
be codified in software and executed by computers. The challenge that
this phenomenon creates, what economists call
employment polarization, is that it knocks out rungs
in the economic ladder, shrinks the size of the middle class and threatens to make us
a more stratified society. On the one hand, a set of highly paid,
highly educated professionals doing interesting work, on the other, a large number
of citizens in low-paid jobs whose primary responsibility is to see
to the comfort and health of the affluent. That is not my vision of progress, and I doubt that it is yours. But here is some encouraging news. We have faced equally momentous
economic transformations in the past, and we have come
through them successfully. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, when automation was eliminating
vast numbers of agricultural jobs — remember that tractor? — the farm states faced a threat
of mass unemployment, a generation of youth
no longer needed on the farm but not prepared for industry. Rising to this challenge, they took the radical step of requiring that
their entire youth population remain in school
and continue their education to the ripe old age of 16. This was called the high school movement, and it was a radically
expensive thing to do. Not only did they have
to invest in the schools, but those kids couldn’t work
at their jobs. It also turned out to be
one of the best investments the US made in the 20th century. It gave us the most skilled,
the most flexible and the most productive
workforce in the world. To see how well this worked,
imagine taking the labor force of 1899 and bringing them into the present. Despite their strong backs
and good characters, many of them would lack
the basic literacy and numeracy skills to do all but the most mundane jobs. Many of them would be unemployable. What this example highlights
is the primacy of our institutions, most especially our schools, in allowing us to reap the harvest of our technological prosperity. It’s foolish to say
there’s nothing to worry about. Clearly we can get this wrong. If the US had not invested
in its schools and in its skills a century ago with
the high school movement, we would be a less prosperous, a less mobile and probably
a lot less happy society. But it’s equally foolish
to say that our fates are sealed. That’s not decided by the machines. It’s not even decided by the market. It’s decided by us
and by our institutions. Now, I started this talk with a paradox. Our machines increasingly
do our work for us. Why doesn’t that make
our labor superfluous, our skills redundant? Isn’t it obvious that the road
to our economic and social hell is paved with our own great inventions? History has repeatedly offered
an answer to that paradox. The first part of the answer
is that technology magnifies our leverage, increases the importance, the added value of our expertise,
our judgment and our creativity. That’s the O-ring. The second part of the answer
is our endless inventiveness and bottomless desires means that we never get enough,
never get enough. There’s always new work to do. Adjusting to the rapid pace
of technological change creates real challenges, seen most clearly
in our polarized labor market and the threat that it poses
to economic mobility. Rising to this challenge is not automatic. It’s not costless. It’s not easy. But it is feasible. And here is some encouraging news. Because of our amazing productivity, we’re rich. Of course we can afford
to invest in ourselves and in our children as America did a hundred years ago
with the high school movement. Arguably, we can’t afford not to. Now, you may be thinking, Professor Autor has told us
a heartwarming tale about the distant past, the recent past, maybe the present,
but probably not the future. Because everybody knows
that this time is different. Right? Is this time different? Of course this time is different. Every time is different. On numerous occasions
in the last 200 years, scholars and activists
have raised the alarm that we are running out of work
and making ourselves obsolete: for example, the Luddites
in the early 1800s; US Secretary of Labor James Davis in the mid-1920s; Nobel Prize-winning economist
Wassily Leontief in 1982; and of course, many scholars, pundits, technologists and media figures today. These predictions strike me as arrogant. These self-proclaimed oracles
are in effect saying, “If I can’t think of what people
will do for work in the future, then you, me and our kids aren’t going to think of it either.” I don’t have the guts to take that bet against human ingenuity. Look, I can’t tell you
what people are going to do for work a hundred years from now. But the future doesn’t hinge
on my imagination. If I were a farmer in Iowa
in the year 1900, and an economist from the 21st century
teleported down to my field and said, “Hey, guess what, farmer Autor, in the next hundred years, agricultural employment is going to fall
from 40 percent of all jobs to two percent purely due to rising productivity. What do you think the other
38 percent of workers are going to do?” I would not have said, “Oh, we got this. We’ll do app development,
radiological medicine, yoga instruction, Bitmoji.” (Laughter) I wouldn’t have had a clue. But I hope I would have had
the wisdom to say, “Wow, a 95 percent reduction
in farm employment with no shortage of food. That’s an amazing amount of progress. I hope that humanity
finds something remarkable to do with all of that prosperity.” And by and large, I would say that it has. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor

  1. These days it seems that almost everything is done on or by a computer, but not all 
                 computers are flawless. There is always a chance for something to go wrong on them. For 
                 example, have you ever been working on your computer and suddenly a warning message 
                 pops up saying "fatal system error, or "internal error"? no matter how bad an error sounds

  2. AI is the single biggest threat to the human society today. Terrorism and migration are smoke screen while massive job loss is resulting due to AI. This will result in anarchy and the right wing governments with their terrorism weapons would point to people protesting these job losses.
    Capitalism has come to it pinnacle. No need for customers. Corporate is controlling resources directly and soon the governments. The sham of democracy would be over. Where would the people go?

    AI revolution is nothing like old automation.

    People need to realize their real enemy before its too late.

  3. my prediction…. there wont be jobs in the future. only owners of the means of production. and people will not be needed for humanity to advance or do work. were really at the mercy of the elites will. and were not useful to them. so im predicting that communism and socialism might become a viable ideaoligy in those times. unless ofcoarse the elite decide to kill us all like were ever consuming pests.

  4. so bringing people from the late 19th century would be a bad idea because they would be unemployable. What about people from countries which have poor education standards today.

  5. Am really agreed with this man, in our future technology, some jobs will be taken away by robots, that is why we have to lean how to work wise as machine work smarter.

  6. Especially in India new "jobs" have been created; e.g. the IRS scam and the "social security"-scam industry providing jobs to thousands of scammers. The morale of my story is that I live in a country where the informal economy is probably as big as the "formal" one. Crime is really high thanks to the disappearing of low-skilled jobs; not the Master/PhD guys and girls are the ones mugging you.

  7. Automation has to potential to swallow up 90% of the meaning I ever thought I'd find in life. I can't stop imagining a world where everything I can offer beyond a familial setting can be done better by a robot/computer. I am afraid there will be no more problems left to solve. I think this guy is full of it, but I have to believe him. I don't know what else to do.

  8. I don't care if machines take away boring mind numbing jobs nobody wants to do in the first place. If all I had to do for 8-12 hours was carry and rip 50+ lbs bags or boxes open with few breaks in between a machine can do that for all I care. I'm sure some enjoy working in their local retail store even if they don't get paid much but nobody wants to kill themselves over something that doesn't require much thought. Machines can do the harder heavy work to make it easier on workers doing the jobs.

  9. Don't support business with robots, don't employ them, etc…. There's only so many resources for building robots… Also, the space… How many things can fit into one place?… Maybe just stop trying to replace humans because you want better and more…

  10. This guy is absolutely wrong. Ai is going to go far beyond what he is talking about. You can't compare it to the industrial revolution.

  11. I see AI and automation filling more roles in the future economy, like self-driving cars and trucks. But I don't think ALL jobs will become automated. Keep in mind we've had robots in the car industry for years and there are STILL humans doing certain tasks on the production line. The visual and hand-eye coordination skills required for some jobs, like sorting and picking nuts and bolts of different sizes from a bin, are too difficult or expensive for AI right now. In a sense, growing and training a human is cheaper & more practical than building and training an AI for some jobs.

  12. YES! When this happens there is a need for a basic revenue € even if you don't work. Because of automation many will not find work anymore. But this is not a problem with the basic income…

  13. He provides absolutely baseless and ridiculous statistics. Simply comparing the present to the past situations. Please consider the population growth, economic growth, technology growth, pay, jobs, job types etc. Nothing is adjusted. Just plain statistics with no relation.

  14. A fully automated workforce is economic suicide unless the population have another means of income.
    Who will buy all the robotically produced items pouring out of the factory if nobody has the money to buy any of it?

    I really hope it will be self levelling. In the same way only a fraction of occupations in say 1910 are still in play now, but we don't have millions of thatchers, coopers, ship builders, ledger clerks all standing around wondering what to do. Over time people drifted to occupations they couldn't have conceived of. Jobs like programmers, highway planners, airline pilots, even bloody youtubers!.

    Like I said, without a population that can buy all this stuff, automation will ironically put itself out of work.

  15. This argument relies on the assumption that we will be able to do something the machines can't. Maybe we will still need human entertainers, escorts, athletes and performers, but not because they will be cognitively better, just because they are like us (it is not as fun to watch machines walking on the Moon as it is to watch humans). But apart from these jobs, even the most creative ability we have may not be as good as a machine in the years to come. I think we are wired to believe that we are special and, in fact, until today, we are. But it is also an arrogance to believe that we will still be special in the years to come. Maybe it is a lack of imagination of this guy to think that the machines will always be dumber than us in some special skill.

  16. This was true when there was machine, automation came, but now next generation is AI, and can easily replace the human. Imagine by 20 years on TED an AI explain how wrong this guy was.

    PS: as far as teller concern, by 2030, tell will be luxury and only privileged customers will get it. Ànd btw I am a banker.

  17. i.e. it will just take away all out MIDDLE CLASS jobs. There will still be a few at the top, and large masses with hand-to-mouth survival jobs

  18. Forty years ago, there were a LOT more banks. More physical places and different brands to bank at. True they were in larger buildings and more centralized. AND there were tellers at ALL of the windows each bank had. Additionally, there were a dozen people in each bank on the floor who were doing loans, forecasting, ordering supplies, typing forms. It's all been computerized. So now they CALL people tellers, but they do the other jobs too.

  19. For clarification, the o-ring problem on the Challenger would not have been cheap to fix. The design of the ship would have needed to be changed after it was already constructed. There was an unforeseen procession around the o-ring that prevented it from sealing. It's a long story, but basically a couple engineers wrote reports about the issue, but they either weren't read or weren't taken seriously by executives. Instead of spending a large portion of money to resolve the issue and delay planned launches, they pushed to lower the o-ring regulation. They claimed that because there were two o-rings, if one broke, the other would seal. This, however, was not proven. In fact, most any engineer would tell you that this makes no sense. If one o-ring fails, the next one will fail as well. It's not additive. They had a flight in warm weather and it was successful. They tried a flight in cold weather, the o-ring was too brittle to compensate for the procession, and…well you know the rest.

  20. Someone should tell this guy that past inventions replaced tools we used as humans to perform tasks. AI replaces the human, not the tool.

  21. Never seen such universal disagreement in the comments section of a ted talk. How you can think of using the past to predict the future when nothing remotely comparable to AI existed back then is beyond me. You'd expect the date of this talk to be 1995 or something, not 2017.

  22. Thanks for this interesting perspective. I think your argument was one of the most insightful positive arguments. However, I still think the weight of evidence is still on the no-more-jobs side. I do agree that how we react politically and socially will make the difference in the outcome.

  23. You dont seem to go out. Home depot is automatic check out. Direct deposit from your employer kills jobs for tellers friend. Jobs are in danger period.

  24. I cant wait until it gets to a feverish point when the poor will literally rise up and start ransacking the rich

  25. This debate honestly isn't even relevant we will have super intelligent AGI within 5 years , how do we stop humanity from destroying itself , how do we stop a robot take over , how do we stop AI driven nano foglets destroying whole cities, these are the practical questions we should be asking , not if people wont be able to do work. By the time joe donut has even started worrying about losing his job to AI we will have created a superinteligent species.

  26. Automation and AI will eventually take all the jobs.

    I hope the day of Robot ruling world and people dependent completely on Robots never comes

  27. 2025-2050

    Unemployment is soaring

    The second quarter of the 21st century is marked by a rapid rise in unemployment around much of the world.* This results in considerable economic, political and cultural upheaval. For most of the 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, new advances in technology and automation had tended to create more jobs than they destroyed. By the 21st century, however, this was no longer true. A fundamental change had begun to occur.**

    Median wages, already falling in recent decades, had continued to stagnate – particularly in the West.*** Globalisation and the outsourcing of jobs to overseas markets with lower international labour rates had, of course, been partly responsible in the past. But a growing and rapidly accelerating trend was the impact of machines and intelligent software programs. Not only were their physical abilities becoming more humanlike;****** in many ways their analytical and cognitive skills were beginning to match those of people too.****

    Blue collar workers had traditionally borne the brunt of layoffs from technological unemployment. This time, white collar jobs were no longer safe either.* Advanced robotics, increasingly sophisticated algorithms, deep learning networks, exponential growth in computer processing power and bandwidth, voice/facial recognition and other tech – all were paving the way towards a highly automated society. Furthermore, of the (few) new jobs being created, most were in highly skilled roles, making it hard or impossible for those made redundant to adapt. Many workers now faced permanent unemployment.

    By 2025, transport was among the sectors feeling the biggest impacts.* The idea of self-driving vehicles had once been science fiction, but money was being poured into research and development. In 2015, the first licenced autonomous truck was announced. These hi-tech vehicles saw rapid adoption. Initially they required a driver to be present, who could take over in case of emergencies, but later versions were fully autonomous.* In the US alone, there were 3.5 million truck drivers, with a further 5.2 million people in non-driving jobs that were dependent on the truck-driving industry, such as highway cafes and motels where drivers would stop to eat, drink, rest and sleep. A similar trend would follow with other vehicle types,* such as taxis, alongside public transport including trains – notably the London Underground.* With humans totalling 1/3rd of operating costs from their salaries alone, the business case was strong. Self-driving vehicles would never require a salary, training, sleep, pension payments, health insurance, holidays or other associated costs/time, would never drink alcohol, and never be distracted by mobile phones or tempted by road rage.

    Manufacturing was another area seeing rapid change. This sector had already witnessed heavy automation in earlier decades, in the form of robots capable of constructing cars. In general, however, these machines were limited to a fixed set of pre-defined movements – repetitive actions performed over and over again. Robots with far more adaptability and dynamism would emerge during the early 21st century. Just one example was "Baxter", developed by Rethink Robotics.* Baxter could understand its environment and was safe enough to work shoulder-to-shoulder with people while offering a broad range of skills. Priced at only $22,000 this model was aimed at midsize and small manufacturers, companies that had never been able to afford robots before. It was fast and easy to configure, going from delivery to the factory floor in under an hour, unlike traditional robots that required manufacturers to develop custom software and make additional capital investments.

    Robots were increasingly used in aerospace,* agriculture,*** cleaning,* delivery services (via drone),** elderly care homes, hospitals,* hotels,** kitchens,** military operations,** mining,* retail environments,* security patrols** and warehouses.* In the scientific arena, some machines were now performing the equivalent of 12 years' worth of human research in a week.* Rapid growth in solar PV installations led some analysts to believe that a new era of green jobs was about to explode,* but robots were capable of this task with greater speed and efficiency than human engineers.*

    Holographic representations of people were also being deployed in various public assistant/receptionist roles. While the first generation lacked the ability to hold a two-way conversation, later versions became more interactive and intelligent.**

    Other examples of automation included self-service checkouts,* later followed by more advanced forms of "instant" payment via a combination of RFID tracking and doorway scanners* (which also enabled stock levels to be monitored and audited without humans). Cafes and restaurants had begun using a system of touchscreen displays, tablets and mobile apps to improve the speed and accuracy of the order process,* with many establishments also providing machines to rapidly create and dispense meals/drinks,* particularly in fast food chains like McDonalds.

    AI software, algorithms and mobile apps had exploded in use during the 2010s and this trend continued in subsequent decades. Some bots were now capable of writing and publishing their own articles online.* Virtual lawyers were being developed to predict the likely outcome and impact of law suits; there were virtual doctors and medical bots (such as Watson), with increasingly computerised analysis and reporting of big data (able to find the proverbial "needle in a haystack" with hyper-accuracy and speed);* virtual teachers and other virtual professions.

    3D printing was another emerging trend, which by the 2020s had become a mainstream consumer phenomenon for the home* and was increasingly used in large-scale formats and industrial settings too; even for the construction of buildings and vehicles. By 2040, traditional manufacturing jobs had been largely eliminated in the US* and many other Western societies. Meanwhile, the ability to quickly and cheaply print shoes, clothing and other personal items was impacting large numbers of jobs in developing nations, particularly those in Asian sweatshops.*

    The tide of change was undeniable. All of these developments led to a growing unemployment crisis; not immediately and not everywhere, but enough to become a major issue for society. Unions in the past had attempted to protect their workers from such impacts, but memberships were at record lows – and in any case, they had never been particularly effective in slowing the march of technology and economics.

    future unemployment trends 2025 2050 timeline

    Sources: World Bank* and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology*

    Governments were now facing profound questions about the nature and future direction of their economies. If more and more people were being made permanently unemployed, how could they afford to buy goods and services needed to stimulate growth? Where would tax revenues come from? Confronted by increasingly angry and desperate voters, now protesting on scales dwarfing Occupy Wall Street, many leaders between 2025 and 2050 began formulating a welfare system to handle these extraordinary circumstances. This had gone by several names in the past – such as basic income, basic income guarantee, universal basic income, universal demogrant and citizen's income – but was most commonly referred to as the unconditional basic income (UBI).

    The concept of UBI was not new. A minimum income for the poor had been discussed as far back as the early 16th century; unconditional grants were proposed in the 18th century; the two were combined for the first time in the 19th century to form the idea of unconditional basic income.* This theory received further attention during the 20th century. The economist Milton Friedman in 1962 advocated a guaranteed income via a "negative income tax". Martin Luther King Jr. in his final book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, wrote: "I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: guaranteed income." US President Richard Nixon supported the idea and tried (unsuccessfully) to pass a version of Friedman's plan. His opponent in the 1972 election, George McGovern, also suggested a guaranteed annual income.

    Traditional welfare payments, such as housing benefit and jobseeker's allowance, were heavily means-tested. In general, they provided only the bare minimum for survival and well-being of a household. By contrast, UBI would be more generous. Unconditional and automatic, it could be paid to each and every individual, regardless of other income sources and with no requirement for a person to work or even be looking for work. The amount paid would make a citizen "economically active", rather than idle, in turn stimulating growth. Some would use the UBI to return to education and improve their skills. Those with jobs would continue to earn more than those who did not work.

    In most countries, UBI would be funded, in part, by increased taxation on the very rich.* At first glance, this appeared to be a radical left-wing concept involving massive wealth redistribution. For this reason, opposition was initially strong, particularly in the US. As time went by, however, the arguments in favour began to make sense to both sides of the political spectrum. For example, UBI could also be funded by cutting dozens of entitlement programs and replacing them with a single unified solution, reducing the size of government and giving citizens more freedom over their personal finances. Demographics in the US were also shifting in ways that made it very difficult for Republicans to maintain their traditional viewpoints.*

  28. Another thing I hope will happen is that it will only reduce working hours to 5 per day, 4 days a week. This would allow for more people to be hired. Automation could just do the really bad jobs. This could also fulfillment types of work. As compaignions for old people.

    There will certainly be more elderly around. People will find something creative like art and music. Automation could enrich our world beyond immagination.

  29. I'm four minutes in and there are serious problems with his presentation. First, he never mentions pay. Second, he never mentions discrepency between education and skills. Third, he never mentions profitability. Finally, he literally say that bank tellers are doing completely different work. So, bank teller jobs have disappeared and in their place people have been hired under the same title, probably with more skills and education, and are being asked to do work that leads to greater profits for banks. Meanwhile, wages for "bank tellers" have been stagnant.

    Who gives af if there are more jobs with the same title if you're getting paid less (relative to value produced) while being more qualified and being asked to do more diffuclt work?

  30. Someone will need to program the robots. Someone will need to repair the robots. Someone will need to come up with the latest and greatest design that quicker and faster. And guess what all of these jobs will pay more than minimum wage

  31. …..the data can't be compared since the technology is vastly different from 1890 to today … even a few years ago the technology was different …. terrible.

  32. The machine must be an ally and not an enemy of the worker! This should be rule #1. (I'm an IT and automation engineer)

  33. Regardless if he is right or wrong ( He's wrong), How can he lecture about automation without mentioning once Artificial intelligence??? a whole 18.30 mins of automation lecture with no talking about AI at all. This guy obviously has no clue what he is talking about.

  34. First off if a robot takes a job over than makes it so the company can save money. If the company is saving more money they can sell for less. If items are sold for less then you can survive off a lower paying job. We will never need a ubi even if robots took nearly all the jobs out there.

  35. so if all work will be replaced by AI and most people do not have money to buy anything. what purpose are those things made by AI served? If AI can make 100 shoes a day and only 5 persons can afford to buy it what is the sense? how will the company make profit on that?

  36. The jokes on them … no money = no one gonna buy their products….. hello .. business is about to sign their own death warrant… did they forget to do the math , …. lol robots will also be without a job hahahaha and the greedy people who invented ai will be on the streets alongside us bahhhhar

  37. I belive the best thing developed countries can do with their lives if computers and robots take over is to do more for ourselves at home. Ie. Work less so that rather than pay others to provide you with services at home (builders, plumbers, electricians, mechanics etc.) and to perhaps try to grow more food and with any remaining time we can spend more time with our families and communities. So basically, future automation can allow us more free time and allow us to be more self sufficient, thereby at the same time we would feel a greater sense of self achievement and could probably cut depression, stress and boost happiness and create more soulful people who are less likely to be mind numbed since less people would have to endure the daily grind.
    Basically the more you can do for yourself the less money you need. It's not like we can't all learn more skills like these at school. these days many westerners are in education for up to 30 years of their lives. It's just a shame that we try to teach everyone the same useless crap when "everyone" is not necessarily interested in all of what bthey are being taught or even going to use 80% of what they are being taught. If you are really interested in something you will teach yourself or seek guidance.

  38. All these people on here raving on about this guy denying what they believe the future to be. Let me ask you. Why is the employment rate so high in the US and UK, and also many other western countries with high levels of automation?

  39. The information presented is patently false: https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/labor-force-participation-rate Labor force participation rates are at 63% the lowest rate since 1977. Also consider that the 70s where the decade that women entered the workforce in mass. In a sky high GDP why would workforce participation rates be stagnant?

  40. Automation alone won't take all of our jobs, automation with sound AI will though.

    We are past just automating things, we are now in the place of making CLEVER automated things. That is where we will have a problem regarding jobs.

  41. Well, yes, new jobs will be created in response to automation – much like how new jobs were created in response to the proliferation of agriculture and industry. However, by what means of logic would one have to think under to believe that WE would occupy these new vacancies. If we're presumptuous enough to believe that automation will take hold over high-end specialisation industries we should also put aside our intellectual hubris and adhere to the notion that automation will consume all forms of labour. The robot will be smarter than you – it will be more efficient – it will be faster; It will posses all these attributes at a fraction of the cost of your human labour.

    The only alternative to technological despotism is to stop viewing humans as a means to a capital end, and dare I utter what system of order will be necessary to circumvent that reality..

  42. He's got his head in the sand. "Done Detroit Lately", Homeless all across the USA. Largely the jobs that are left are subpar jobs. The reason so many more people are working is that they are working in jobs that can't support them. I'm earning almost the same as I was 40 years ago but now the .15 candy bar is 2.15. So now over the last 50 years 2 family members have had to go to work for the family to survive whereas one bread winner could support a family in the past.

  43. All u know is problem solving..Duh..After 30 when ur fluid intelligent gone..How do u going to solve the problem…Guys don't listen to him..81 iq..Ppl really can't do anything..Look at Africa..Africa is poor cause their no intelligent brain…..It's impossible for ppl to make a career by increasing automation.. …Ubi is the only way save ppl to not phage into provety level. .Put ubi than start automaton..Their 70 % ppl all over the world doing lobor work even tho u had get rid of labour work.. u know why ..Why it's …Stop automation until give us free money..

  44. He tells us that there is no limit to the number of jobs we can think of, there will also be no limit to the number of those jobs that the AI machines, computers and robots can take away not to mention the speed at which they will be able take them. Past performance in not necessarily an indicator of future performance of anything.

  45. Lol. “But who’s going to run the machines.” Until AI and the machines starts running and functioning themselves. Job Automation is not a far fetch science fiction thing. It’s already happening ladies and germs

  46. Artificial Intelligence will always upgrade itself, improve, and evolve. And it’s already doing that faster than we want to admit.

  47. The number of bank tellers doubled for 3 reasons. 1 a population growth. 2 old generation who cant conform to atm and online capabilities. 3 banks are greedy and people are very dependant on them to secure their assets

  48. We are in the 21st century not the industrial revolution. Automation has been around far longer than people are saying. Ever watched how its made? Aloy of the machines on that show have been around since the 1960's and pump out massive amounts of products. Automation is a result of companies going saving money just like outsourcing. This guy is a tool. His model does not work on all occupations. Of course greedy institutions are going to expand. With the technology that is put today alone companies can eliminate massive amounts of people in manufacturing and most manufactures are in the development for automation. Yeah sure you will have a few under paid button pushers.

  49. Automayion means cheaper products which meand more pollution. Congradulation mankind you all care so much for conveince no matter how much it devistates the future for all living species on this earth

  50. Today after a few calls I sadly thought AI might’ve done a better job

    Anyway if you haven’t already check out Andrew Yang. He seems to be the only candidate that gets the automation problem and have solutions

  51. Pls contact Orisol for footwear automation with 30 years footwear machinery experience https://www.orisol.com/

  52. I think we all need to move on from the mindset that there will always be plenty of jobs for people. A while back having a job and working used to mean something but now all we have left is a corrupt system that relies heavily on competition. Automation will take away the majority of jobs and one day even surgeons will be replaced because we will have machines to do the task effectively without the risk of human error. It's time to set up a new system that supports people's access to a better quality of life even if some of them don't have jobs because at the end of it all people just want to be able to put food on the table and pursue their true goals in life

  53. This guy has no fucking clue what life is like for 75% of the population. What a fucking load of bullshit.

    He might as well just peddle this "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" garbage. It's the same level. Someone in his own little world who has no fucking clue.

  54. you say there will be more jobs in the future, but I am asking that " what jobs are can't be done by AI, everything". because it thinks like a human by analyzing the data faster than a human, then why human??

  55. For all the right reasons, I don’t believe this guy… it is a bit more complex than what he anticipate…

  56. Dave, you're not paying attention. There are more tellers because there are fewer tellers per bank and there are a lot more banks. I can see you're old enough to remember when banks and stores had many more open tellers per store, many more tellers per bank. A pile of money is worthless, throw it up in the air and the fluttering wealth dazzles humans into stupidity. The swoosh sound money makes when it goes from one pile to another has been commodified and spent. When that 'one too many' dollar is spent it will be the tiny point of the needle into the balloon. Afterwards all those ATMs might as well spew tree leaves. There's a reason why we don't use tree leaves for money. The value of our endeavors is deceasing, the result will be more "Madam Bovary" and less Les Misérables" until the collective gestalt is little more than nihistism as religion. How about bending that brilliant mind of yours to a piece about how machines can serve spiritual growth and not Pollyanna 'gee whizzing' about how we can just get over it and dissipate to the backgound radiation of existence?

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