December 27, 2012 AT 12:00 am

Replacing human jobs with robots

Ff Robot4B Large

Better Than Human…. Imagine that 7 out of 10 working Americans got fired tomorrow. What would they all do?…

It’s hard to believe you’d have an economy at all if you gave pink slips to more than half the labor force. But that—in slow motion—is what the industrial revolution did to the workforce of the early 19th century. Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines. But the displaced workers did not sit idle. Instead, automation created hundreds of millions of jobs in entirely new fields. Those who once farmed were now manning the legions of factories that churned out farm equipment, cars, and other industrial products. Since then, wave upon wave of new occupations have arrived—appliance repairman, offset printer, food chemist, photographer, web designer—each building on previous automation. Today, the vast majority of us are doing jobs that no farmer from the 1800s could have imagined.

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1 Comment

  1. This article is more optimistic than most.. it recognizes the fact that technology and automation create new jobs and don’t just cannibalize the old ones. The chart is unduly pessimistic though. The ‘human’ side says “either you’re already obsolete or you will be eventually,” and I disagree with that view.

    My view is that it’s bad engineering to casually write off a design that’s survived 80 million years of real-world testing. Like the CompSci joke goes.. human-level AI is 20 years away, and has been for the last 60 years.

    I don’t see ‘technology writer’ being automated any time soon.. though it’s formulaic enough to be a candidate. I also don’t see disruptive products like the Arduino, RasPi, or iPhone being the result of fully automated design processes either.

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