Tag Archives: unemployment

Robot revolution: rise of ‘thinking’ machines could exacerbate inequality

Heather Stewart, Joint Political Editor of the Guardian (British Newspaper)

Global economy will be transformed over next 20 years at risk of growing inequality, say analysts

A line of human-shaped robots on display at an industry fair.
Robots made by Shaanxi Jiuli Robot Manufacturing Co on display at an industry fair in Shanghai in November. Photograph: Imaginechina/Corbis

A “robot revolution” will transform the global economy over the next 20 years, cutting the costs of doing business but exacerbating social inequality, as machines take over everything from caring for the elderly to flipping burgers, according to a new study.

As well as robots performing manual jobs, such as hovering the living room or assembling machine parts, the development of artificial intelligence means computers are increasingly able to “think”, performing analytical tasks once seen as requiring human judgment.

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The other elephant in the room (and every room in the whole world)

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation, Adjunct Professor(ret.), Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

Gather a roomful of people with vague ideas that our millions of displaced workers can return to jobs remotely resembling what they used to do—“Let’s get America moving forward again”—and technology will be an elephant in that room. I didn’t even mention globalization, which might be an even larger elephant. Domestic competition and new technology alone would drastically alter our future society even if Americans were the only residents of the planet began Earth. But globalization alone also is a sufficient force to set our old economy and workforce paradigm on its head. With Mumbai or Tokyo or Stuttgart or Singapore virtually as nearby as an industrial park here in the U.S., nothing will ever be the same again. Elephants are the world’s most powerful work animals, and we have a pair in tandem pulling us into the 21st Century. Unlike a tractor, they can’t back up. And the sum of these two elephants, technology and globalization, is greater than their parts. Globalization is the one most commonly thought to be reversible, at least in part. The only way to beat it is to join it, and be competitive.

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Why progress always ‘puts people out of work’

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation, Adjunct Professor(ret.), Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.


Let’s refine our definition of “the employment problem” by understanding that the biggest, most labor-intensive companies—the kind that absorbed all those farm laborers and created the 20th-Century middle-class—were inevitably destined to become not “centers of employment,” but centers of unemployment.

Here we begin by recounting my Grand Rapids speech and go on to explain the Vector One and Vector Two phenomenon, the entire phenomenon of ever-more-efficient companies and organizations (or entire sectors, like our friends the farmers) becoming smaller and smaller in terms of employment. Meanwhile, new technologies and new products and new market forces breed “job creation” elsewhere in the economy. A company or even an entire sector must do things better and more efficiently, or die. They eventually will die anyway unless they reinvent themselves as producers of new goods and services rather than inevitably obsolete goods and services.

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