Why it matters: "If we stay on the trajectory we're on currently, we're going to have greater income inequality, less social mobility, greater political unrest and greater income insecurity," says Elizabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future.
The big picture: The effects of automation fit into a puzzle that includes trade policy. But while trade and China hog political attention, automation gets passed over, leaving a gaping hole in critical preparations for the future of work.
- Unchecked, job losses from automation could knock out bottom rungs of traditional career paths, worsen inequality and increase political polarization.
- Now, fast advances in AI and robotics threaten to fundamentally alter both low- and high-skilled jobs, increasing the urgency for political leaders to address the issue, Reynolds says.
- Estimates of coming American job loss to automation range wildly, from 10% to 47%. But even the most conservative calculations threaten millions of workers.
- Technology could also create as many as 50 million new jobs by 2030, and step in where workers are scarce. Where those new jobs will arrive remains unclear.
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Monday, December 9, 2019
Automation, Employment,and Inequality
At Axios, Kaveh Waddell and Alison Snyder write that automation is a sleeper political issue.