Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Technological Unemployment

We know an army of robots and algorithms is being designed to kick us out of our current jobs.

But we don’t know if machines and programs will force us into early retirement.

If the economy is a pie, automation makes the pie bigger: machines increase productivity, prices go down and demand goes up.

As goods and services become more affordable, people develop different tastes.

In meeting the need for new flavours, the pie’s ingredients change: robots open the door for a new industry and create more jobs.

People replaced by machines in the old pie can find work in the new and improved pie.

Or can they?

Just because new jobs become available, does not mean humans are most suited to fill them.

We like to believe complex tasks lie outside the reach of machines. That a bunch of chips and wires held together by scraps of metal will never reach the peak of human performance.

But already experts from the most prestigious and high-earning professions are losing out to AI. Diagnosing diseases, cancer treatment recommendations, surgeries, even handling divorce proceedings—all done better by a computer.

Algorithms are now largely being used to assist professionals rather than replace them. But as machines get better, it’s likely that our mechanical pals will eventually become the sole workforce of the world.

In a future with few or even no jobs, and a pie bigger than ever before, it’s unclear how we can all get a piece. But deciding on how to slice the pie is much better than having no pie at all.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach