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Automation means millions of jobs will vanish


Robotics, automaton, self-serve kiosks, and self-driving vehicles are replacing jobs. This process is irreversible. “Creative destruction” is a misleading buzz phrase used by those who will directly benefit from the destruction, the coming class of tech overlords. It implies that while there may be some short-term pain for unfortunates (who the tech overlords never meet or have contact with), surely it implies a fine future for society at large. Of course, the tech overlords will need to be on top, running things. This is only as it should be.

Well, except for those damn peasants with pitchforks, ungrateful wretches, aren’t they? I call this the “Imagine three million unemployed truck drivers” problem.

We’re now seeing the next wave of creative destruction transforming society. We don’t yet know how it will end. At the moment it looks like people with the skills to create and manage complex systems or build and maintain computer guided equipment will do pretty well. So what about everyone else?

This isn’t a technical problem. It’s a cultural and political conundrum. Americans aren’t big fans of taxing the rich and redistributing the money to the folks lower down the food chain. We tend to think of that as social engineering and Godless communism. My best guess is that we’re not going to resolve these challenges in any intentional comprehensive logical manner. At least not at first. Instead circumstances are going to overwhelm us until enough of the population is miserable enough to demand real change. That’s been the historical model and it tends to be messy. Big fun.

From the comments:

Self driving cars are the big kahuna. There are 3.5 million people employed as truck drivers in this country. They are all going to be out of a job by the end of the next decade, if not sooner. Are they going to be retrained as computer coders?