In thinking about the jobless recovery as part of the recent economic recovery, one has to think “do we really need more people“? As it’s always been that economic expansion has been tied to employment growth. Regardless of the rise of technology in the past, humans were still required to do the majority of the work. In as such, people were also the “growth driver”, they brought value to the market. However in the e-world today is this still the case, where have all the jobs gone?
As written about in other posts, we as a society appear to be reaching a critical tipping point in not one, but multiple areas of business such as the death of the printed book, the consolidation of the consumer electronics market with many to one devices, etc. Do we really need the same sized workforce we did just five years ago? As robots build our cars, computers tabulate our ledgers, servers deliver mail, and cameras monitor our roadways punishing drivers for speeding. So what is left for the human workforce?
Years back with the rise of the computer in the workplace, pundits would say these folks who were replaced from their “line work” by technology would still be needed to fix the robots. What planet did these folks come from, as let me get this right. You’re going to take a laborer with a assembly skill sets and expect them in short order to fix something with the multiple-dimensional complexity as a robot? Also even if this were a true statement what about growth? It’s clear business as it should, will use the efficiency provided by this as with all technology to improve upon its margins instead of undertaking employment for social good.
Is this why we in America are seeing the rise in socialistic trends as we have pushed so hard and so fast on the technological curve as to out-pace the natural attrition of our race? Are we looking at the era of “peak humans“, where instead of growing our race we’ve reached the social apex and it’s a downhill ride as technology starts to gain it’s own critical mass? Just as the cell phone brought to life the “Dick Tracy” talking wrist watch, will “Watson” bring to life the “Terminator“? While I’m doubtful we will see the likes of a time traveling Californian Governor in our remaining years. However what we may see is a major tipping point reached in the cohabitation of the human workforce with technology. Potentially even at virally driven levels as each “leap” becomes successively larger than the one before (remember Moore’s Law) while we remain unaware till the tsunami is upon us.
The question is where will this wave wash us ashore, or will we even survive the ride to land as the undertow may be too much for us to overcome and spark a fundamentalist movement as natural retort much as a hand jerks away from a burning flame. Regardless of the outcome, as Aldus Huxley wrote, we are in for a Brave New World (whether we want it or not)….