3/26/2017

Will automation take people's jobs?

When you drive through a toll booth, there's nobody waiting to take your money, make change, small talk.  Just a bunch of empty booths.  With a sign indicating your charge will be though your license plate.  A mysterious picture scanning your plate, determine the charge, finding its way to your mailbox.  Or pre-purchased account on your windshield.

I drove to the ATM, took out some cash.  No teller necessary.  When I called the customer service,  a friendly voice instructing which buttons to push, authorize my credentials, perform the transaction.

Will automation take people's jobs?

That's a good question.

One possible theory, artificial intelligence will wipe out humanity, or put us in cages at the zoo, or will outperform humans to such a degree that we become obsolete.  P
eople speak of a new form of socialism or guaranteed basic income where people will enjoy luxury activities in their idle time.

Some question comes to mind, 


  • Do you think the banks will forgive people''s outstanding debt.
  • Who will pay for people's healthcare
  • Who will pay for people food.
  • Who will pay for people housing.
  • Why would people reproduce if their offspring have no chance of employment.
  • Will people enter debtors prison for unpaid debt.

I don't think we know at this point.  Let's examine some current trends.

  • We know many jobs have already been automated.
  • We know that prices are going up sharply for basic goods and services
  • We know that many incomes are flat or decreasing.
  • We know that job competition is stiff for low wage earners.
  • We know that some high paying jobs have been pushed offshore.
  • We know people are working more hours.
  • We know people are working well past retirement age.
  • We know average household debt is approximately $12,000.
  • We know many households are upside down on their mortgages and many have entered the foreclosure process.
  • We know that student loan debt has risen substantially and is longer candidate to write off during bankruptcy.
  • We know the cost of healthcare is rising and there's a penalty for not having any.

Let's take out our magic crystal ball and attempt to synthesize these observations.

Are the current trends benefiting society as a whole.

If we circle back to automation and artificial intelligence, will they have an impact on society.  


  • Will somebody step in and subsidize payments for a good chunk of society and if so, how will that get financed.
  • What will people do 24 hours a day with no chance of employment ever.  
  • How will the logistic take place to house and feed and care for all these unemployed people, forever.
  • With less money flowing through the economy, what impact will that have to business'.

This is a tricky sticky subject and I'm surely no expert in the field.  I'm just asking basic questions on possible scenarios and how they could play out.  And pointing out some trends and food for thought to see which way we're heading.

One thing to keep in mind, if the purpose of a business is to maximize profit and decrease costs, and automation and Artificial Intelligence are definite ways to accomplish those, what impact will that have on the economy, humanity and the planet.  Are there any safety nets in place or in the works to ensure a soft landing if automation was to cause ripple effects.  Will humanity continue it's trend of upward mobility, from the jungle, into the grasslands, onto farms, into cities.

Perhaps time will tell.

We Interrupt this Broadcast