Robots are not the cause of unemployment

PricewaterhouseCoopers (dba PwC) researched and wrote a report that said over a third of jobs in the United States were ripe to be replaced by automation. PwC is a consulting firm that was acquired by IBM and folded into IBM Global Business Services unit in October 2002. Eventually PwC began to rebuild its management consulting practice by acquiring firms such as Bearing Point and PTRM.

Because it gained experience and knowledge in the areas of automation and artificial intelligence within IBM, it has been able to use its research arm to develop reports of interest like this one. One of the key facets of the report is that those that could be at risk of automation are those that do not have as high an education level as others. The “high risk” industries include finance, hospitality, and transportation.

Robots were not deemed to replace that many human workers which runs contrary to other reports that have been seen on this site. The main reason is the cost of the robots, including repairs and maintenance, would be too expensive compared to human workers. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that artificial intelligence is not “even on my radar screen. I think it’s 50 or 100 more years.” This will come as a pleasant surprise for employees in some industries.

His take is that automation would enable human workers “to do more productive jobs at higher wages.” His focus is to ensure the U.S. is investing in education and training for the American worker.

And that’s the rub. Most industries have begun to hire more workers at lower wages than before 2008. Yes, more people are working, but for families it is almost a requirement for both the husband and the wife to work to make ends meet. Robots have become a secondary discussion since wage growth has been so anemic.

Quotes for the Day:

“All the technology in the world will never replace a positive attitude.”— Harvey Mackay

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances.”— Martha Washington

 

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