Will Information Technology and Automation Result in a Long-Term Shortage of Jobs?

Dave and Chris of the Amp hour asked on their last show whether technology will eventually cause a shortage of jobs.

If computers could replace almost all human jobs, it would be a good thing because that would mean we could have the same goods and services we have today without human work.  This is something people have dreamed about since time immemorial.

When the industrial revolution started, it meant people theoretically could work much less and have the same lifestyle they would have had in agricultural economy.  They could spend the rest of the time relaxing with their families.  Instead, though, society chose to keep working and produce way more goods and services.

Something similar happened when we went from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural society.  We may be seeing something similar today going from an industrial society to an information/automation society.  If it plays out the same way, the amount of goods and services we can produce will continue to increase.  We are right to be asking the big questions of how we want that go forward and what we want to do with our new-found production capabilities.

One Response to “Will Information Technology and Automation Result in a Long-Term Shortage of Jobs?”

  1. Cherish says:

    The down side to this is the expectation that a select number of people will still continue to work 40 hour weeks while the rest will be unemployed. The advent of technology hasn’t reduced the working time for all of us: it has stayed the same for some of us, while the rest become under or unemployed. Ironically, those who are working have had huge losses in free-time as industrialization and technology have progressed. This has a pretty negative implication for economic policy…and it’s going to continue to get worse.

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