Economists Apprehensive of Robots for Bleak Job Scenario


It was once said, the spread of computers and the Internet will categorize jobs into two types – people who instruct computers, and second type is people who are instructed by computers. This declaration, however, is now being rejected and a more optimistic approach considered. On the contrary, economists – the pessimistic lot, are considering the possibility of a bifurcated future seriously. As robots and machine-learning technology progresses at a rapid pace, more and more researchers are examining the question of the work ecosystem where computers could replicate or surpass several mental abilities of humans.

Robots to Make Life Dismal for Working Class

This scenario is different from the one where robots grab people’s jobs and leave humanity redundant. This has led some economists claim appearance of automation-induced unemployment, though it is minimal, even if it exists at all. The labor market is said to have reached pre-recession levels, and apprehensions that jobs will become permanently scanty are out of minds.

This, however, does not mean the jobs in the future will be good ones. Over several decades, economists have been anxious about skill-biased technological change wherein new technologies will reward those smart enough to master them, while outdoing the skills of peers.

As computerization advanced in the 1980s, and as inequality increased, some economists were anxious that skill-biased technological change would have a big impact. But that was too early to predict. As revealed in a study of 2002, wage inequality stopped to augment in the 1980s, even as computerization spread. The study also revealed that 1980s saw lessening of gender wage gap, despite fewer women in computer-intensive jobs.

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