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PBS (from 2014): "Navigating the Robot Economy"

Link to web site

" 'Technology has always been replacing jobs, and it's always been creating jobs,' Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT, says. This time might be different, though. 'Recently, we’ve been seeing more of the replacement, more of the automation, and less of the complementing and creating of new jobs.'

"David Autor, a professor of economics at MIT, argues that, unlike the transition that occurred in the Post-War boom, automation is hollowing out the workforce rather than fattening it. Middle-class jobs are being replaced by robots and computers. As workers are forced out of good-paying factory and clerical positions, many take what they can find, maybe working as a janitor or preparing food at McDonalds.

"Those jobs never paid very much to begin with, and the oversupply of applicants depresses wages further, reinforcing the hollowing out. For now, many of those low-wage jobs appear safe. Cleaning office buildings and cooking and serving food is currently hard to automate, at least with the level of service people demand. But as robots get better, those jobs could be in jeopardy, too. Eventually, we’ll all have to find some skill that can’t be substituted by automation."

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