I’ll be speaking at an event hosted by the Warwick PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) Forum, on Saturday, November 9, 2013. The title of the event is “All Work and No Pay in 2013: The Automation of the Global Economy.” Details are here.
I’ll be speaking at the IMPAKT Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands on Saturday November 2. Information is here.
The festival runs from Oct 30 to Nov 3, and this year’s theme is “Capitalism Catch-22”.
In my book The Lights in the Tunnel, written back in 2009, I wrote:
“So our assumption is going to be that, at some point down the line, machines or computers will take over a great many of these people’s jobs. Not all of them, but a lot. Maybe 40 percent. Maybe half. ”
Turns out that wasn’t a bad guess, at least according to some researchers at the University of Oxford. Their best estimate is that 47% of U.S. jobs are susceptible to automation within the next two decades. PDF of the complete report is here.
Textile Factories returning to the U.S.–but without the workers – NY Times
Will Robots Kill — or Create — your Next Job? – FastCompany
Robots Fill New Roles at Work – PC World
On the Future of Moore’s Law:
Samsung Manufactures 3D Integrated Circuits – Forbes
Stanford Team Builds a Carbon Nanotube Computer – NY Times
An interesting debate over whether automated cars would produce economic growth.
Ryan Avent of the Economist argues “yes” … but I am not so sure. For one thing, automated cars will likely be a shared resource, at least in cities. That means fewer cars, which is certainly good for the environment, but maybe not so good for economic growth — at least in terms of the way we measure GDP. Also, another very important question is whether new technologies like automated cars will raise median incomes (which have been stagnant in the U.S. for decades). Kind of hard for me to see how that would be the case.
I think Robert Gordon raises some valid points, although he is really getting slammed by the techno-optimist/TED Conference community. What do you think?
I have an an article in this month’s Communications of the ACM (a leading journal for the computer science community). The main point of the article is that most of the work required by the economy is on some level routine and predicatable. This is true of both blue and white collar work, and it includes many skilled occupations. A key point is that acquiring more skills will not necessarily be a defense against advancing automation technology. Machines are getting better and better at acquiring skills.
You can read the article here:
“Could Artificial Intelligence Create an Unemployment Crisis?”
There is also an introduction by the editor-in-chief, Moshe Vardi, here:
A few months ago, I did an interview with CBC/Radio-Canada on how a future economy might work in the age of robots and automation. In it, I describe many ideas from my book, The Lights in the Tunnel, and in particular, the need for a guaranteed minimum income — perhaps incorporating some basic incentives.
The program is airing this weekend and the podcast is here.