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Home » Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor

Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor

Here’s a paradox you don’t hear much about: despite a century of creating machines to do our work for us, the proportion of adults in the US with a job has consistently gone up for the past 125 years. Why hasn’t human labor become redundant and our skills obsolete? In this talk about the future of work, economist David Autor addresses the question of why there are still so many jobs and comes up with a surprising, hopeful answer.

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39 thoughts on “Will automation take away all our jobs? | David Autor”

  1. My mother is miserable because she has low education.

    She watches reruns on television the entire day and talks to people that lie to her over facebook.

    Also,i dont think that telling her the truth would help her either.

    I cant make her study and learn about the internet.

    She never listens to anyone.

  2. In my oppinion – an artificall intelligence and mashine learning will displace majority of professions. It`s very sad. BUT who will buy goods if nobody will not have money? Capitalists will suffer losses..

  3. Automation will introduce highly skilled jobs which everyone can't afford , because to acquire high tech friendly skills you need money to go for training and certification which a large number of people can't afford because of high wealth gap .People don't like nowadays to get into debt trap either so either make education and healthcare free and affordable or face poverty

  4. Go buy a teller machine. You can own one. You fill it up with cash and gives you your money back on each purchase pluss $2.50 dollars Everytime u use it to the owner. I can't even pay my water bill anymore

  5. It is just logic that in the end machines will be able to do almost everything. We are already seing this with the growing gap between the rich and the middle class. Pluss a shrinking middle class, is a sign that random folks are less usefull than before

  6. Sorry Professor, but this time IS different for a brand new reason. Increasingly intelligent machines are competing directly against the human expertise, judgement and creativity that you assume will save our jobs for us. Even if there is an increase in work to do, that extra work may simply be done by more machines.
    You started by showing a graph of how the percentage of our adult population who are employed has increased over the years, but you neglected to point out that that same graph now sits at a 40-year low and is going down. It is going down because this time really is different.

  7. When you bring the past to justify that human innovations which were thought to take away all our jobs but never did, it is like that story with the wolf, where the guy keeps telling "there's a wolf" and no one believes it because it happens to be a lie, until it is not. The approach of thinking that there will always be job until human are greedy, deals with our survival as humanity, but the bigger question is where are we headed? on the way of digging the well of knowledge, we might have buried the very purpose of acquiring the knowledge with the debris… or perhaps it is the very purpose that we are seeking when we dig the well.

  8. Automation has already decreased Network administration careers by over 75%. By 2024 the only Network Admins will be on server farms. Intellectually sound minds will be working at the likes of Walmart until they go fully automated. The government will start universal income because there will be no more work for anyone. The goal is to get a planet run by AI that has no room for humans. By the way hold my water bottle while I take another hit

  9. Replacing Human job with robot, so how are going to live and earn, who gonna buy your product and services,. your big business will going bankrupt because the main buyer and customers are human workers not a robot.

  10. I personally feel like this presentation is taking a lot of statistics out of context. For example, women didn’t largely enter the workforce until the 60s-70s so it would make sense more people are employed now.

    He also isn’t considering quite how many jobs are lost to automation- you can’t take one example of bank tellers and say why are there still bank tellers if this one machine can’t do everything a bank teller does?

    Is it possible more bank tellers are there because of the growth in population and more businesses open? Obviously there is a huge population increase over 50 years and taking up much more land so that argument is also bad.

    I work in manufacturing, machines are taking jobs left and right. We started getting machines that inspect parts in the machine and load new parts- it’s going to take less people to produce the same output.

    When truck drivers are automated, millions of people are going to become engineers in their 40s?

    What about when all checkout is self checkout?

    Or software starts administrative work with AI?

    Millions will be unemployed with not enough jobs for them thus creating a higher surplus of workers and lower wages.

    Capitalism as is can not be sustained.

  11. Business investment in new technologies that replace work may ultimately not happen because they won’t be able to move the goods made by these machines off the shelves. Better to pay a workforce to contribute towards consumption.

  12. A positive outlook but one that i feel is missing something.
    Before machines we brute forced out work with hard labor. Then we automated it.
    Then we made computers and we have been brute forcing the coding now we are learning to automate it.

    With the internet we learned to make stuff available online, It was a lot of brute forced labor that we are no making efficient. Automated even at times.
    Transportation has been a long time issue we have brute forced as well. Now enormous resources are being pumped into making it automated and efficient.

    In the 17-1800s machines took physical jobs sewing, farming, blacksmithing, It required energy and resources so mining freaking exploded in demand.
    When computers removed a lot of industrial jobs, Coding swallowed huge amounts of workers alongside computer operators.

    But now its not just a machine taking over a production line or doing craftsmanship better or a computer reducing the need of work on a menial task.
    The machines are becoming better by large margins reducing the need for entire factory sections. Sometimes one machine can replace an entire factory.
    Robots are reducing the need for workers in entire factories
    AI are reducing the need for workers supplying the factories and managing the factories.

    now lets move away from factories. Robots are being introduced into almost every market imaginable.
    AI is also being used to enter as a digital robot into the computer market.
    And Software is being developed to do digital work the way physical machines do mass production.

    All i see left is. Research, development and education. That could be large workforce hogs swallowing the masses of people needing work.
    I'm not worried about the jobs disappearing I'm worried about the jobs becoming too efficient. We can create new jobs today but our efficiency is so high we can practically automate half of it by tomorrow. That is my worry previous booms and revolutions still took decades to advance now we are down to a few years. Soon it will by the year and month count that is how fast its starting to get.

  13. You still need troubleshooters, technicians, and mechanics to fix the automation when it's down, but those jobs will require extensive education and training… The unfortunate part is that many of the younger generations are more obsessed with instant gratification, and don't want to put in the time and effort to be qualified to perform these occupations!

  14. A factory owner replaces humans with machines, making all the workers without pay. More jobs than just the factory ones will make this happen. And it makes sense, machines don't need breaks or pay and they don't take sick days right? Well, if robots make half the population of the country lose their job, being without money, they will have no one to sell their products to, no one to drive around, no one to repair their fricking ovens to. Just my theory, ngl i think it makes sense

  15. Wise man, if we do not invest in education promote creativity will result in unemployment. Unfortunately this demands huge amounts of capital and a government that has the maturity to care for it's citizens.

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