Robots vs. Robots – Are we losing jobs to robots or not?

This chart spells out in black and white just how many jobs will be lost to robots

image credit: Marketwatch

When robots come for our jobs, the first people to fall will be those working in retail and fast food restaurants as well as the ubiquitous secretaries who are an indispensable part of the corporate world.

It may not happen overnight but slowly, machines are gaining on man’s turf and in a decade or two, about 50% of jobs in existence today will have gone the way of dinosaurs, or in this case, automation, according to Henrik Lindberg, chief technology officer at Swedish fintech company Zimpler.

So, Where Are All Those Robots?

Low unemployment. Low productivity growth. Low corporate investment in new technology. What’s going on?

Lots of people think that the robots are coming to steal everybody’s jobs. I even wrote a whole thing about what would happen if they did.

But another story is emerging from several recent papers and columns by economists and economic writers. Instead of a world without work, they say, there is currently more evidence for a world with too much work—and not enough humans to do it all. Rather than high-flying investment in machines and similarly high unemployment, there is strangely low investment and happily low joblessness. How can anybody say robots are killing jobs when the killer is nowhere to be seen and the supposed victim isn’t even dead?

Economists and writers aren’t just pushing back against the robots-taking-jobs story. Some of them are downright begging for more robots to descend on the economy and bring with them the gift of productivity. (As a side note: When economists and economic writers say “robots” they rarely mean actual anthropomorphic machines like C3PO; it’s more of a catch-all for new technology that replaces work previously done by people.) Here are the four main parts of the case for embracing robots without fear.

image credit: David Erickson

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