Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Washington Post has an opinion piece up about the "jobless future".

The piece is by Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University. He's also director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and a distinguished fellow at Singularity University.

Wadhwa's argument is that the recession is going to be never-ending. Massive advances in robotics, automation, and computerization are going to simply make most jobs irrelevant.

Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores. There won't be much work for human beings. Self-driving cars will be commercially available by the end of this decade and will eventually displace human drivers -- just as automobiles displaced the horse and buggy -- and will eliminate the jobs of taxi, bus, and truck drivers. Drones will take the jobs of postmen and delivery people.
Maybe it's not a jobless future. Maybe it's a future in which writing literature or poetry, or painting or sculpting, or learning history, or teaching, or all those things under-valued by the "free market" are the only jobs worth doing. Maybe it's a "jobless" future in that blue-collar, grunt-work jobs with high pay will no longer exist, and will be replaced with a working class which is more restrained, less materialistic, and less alienated.

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