So the robots are getting smarter and smarter, and pretty soon we won’t have jobs ourselves (at least the masses won’t have jobs, although there may be a little bit of hope for the most elite of us). At least, that’s the dystopian future described in Rise Of The Robots: Technology And The Threat of a Jobless Future. I don’t see that the author makes a very compelling case. For instance, he starts by explaining that as recently as a century ago, 50% of US workers worked on farms, while today it’s only 2%. Clearly the missing 48% found something else to do. Of course, the transition was not as fast as the one we are encountering (supposedly), but perhaps it would be good to remind ourselves that humanity has gone through other large changes before.
Still, there are interesting ideas in the book, most notably the one that offshoring is a close companion of immigration. And as job losses may well affect the less educated workers most, we’d better find a way to cope or risk massive political upheavals (strangely unmentioned in the book).