October 12, 2013
THE BASIC REALITY OF THE MODERN ECONOMY...:
Gartner's dark vision for tech, jobs : In a world where smart machines do most of the work, expect high unemployment, unrest and tumult (Patrick Thibodeau, October 10, 2013, Computerworld )
Machines have been replacing people since the agricultural revolution, so what's new here?In previous technological leaps, workers could train for a better job and achieve an improvement in their standard of living. But the "Digital Industrial Revolution," as the analyst firm terms it, is attacking jobs at all levels, not just the lower rung. Smart machines, for example, can automate tasks to the point where they become self-learning systems.Smart machines "are diagnosing cancer, they are prescribing cancer treatments," said Kenneth Brandt, a Gartner analyst. These machines "can even deliver [treatment] to the room of the patient."Gartner sees all kinds of jobs being affected: Transportation systems, construction work, mining warehousing, health care, to name a few. With IT costs at 4% of sales for all industries, there's very little left to cut in IT, but there is a great opportunity to cut labor.The companies on the leading edge of this trend include Amazon, which spent $775 million last year to acquire Kiva Systems, a company that makes robots used in warehouses. Google is also on the forefront, with its effort to develop driverless cars. Gartner applies a broader template, and says that the jobs most susceptible to machine replacement involve a range of back-office functions, including transactions, specialization, objectivity, high control, high scale, compliance and science.This shift will affect employment, said Brandt, at Gartner's Symposium ITxpo. "We believe there will be persistent and higher unemployment."
...is that jobs are a counterproductive means of redistributing the wealth we create as a society. So we'll devise other means. And we'll do so more quickly because the people who always thought their labor was irreplaceable turn out to be freeloaders too.Posted by Orrin Judd at October 12, 2013 9:54 AM