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30 years From Now

18 Feb 30 years From Now

Headline from the Independent published in February 2016 : Robots ‘will make majority of humans unemployed within 30 years’

Headline from the Guardian February 2016: Automation may mean a post-work society but we shouldn’t be afraid

IN 1930, John Maynard Keynes wrote an essay, “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”.  In his essay he stated that the grandchildren of the 1930s would be a great deal richer than their grandparents. But the path ahead contained many dangers. Keynes talked about a “new disease”: “technological unemployment…due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.” 80 years later there appears to be real concern about the future. The introductory paragraph of the article in the independent states:

The pace at which robots and intelligent machines are able to take over the jobs traditionally performed by humans will result in more than half the population being unemployed within 30 years, an expert in computing has predicted.Professor Vardi predicted that developments in robotics and artificial intelligence will create a workplace revolution unlike any other seen since the start of the industrial age more than two centuries ago. “We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task. I believe that society needs to confront this question before it is upon us,” Professor Vardi said. “I do believe that, by 2045, machines will be able to do a very significant fraction of the work a man can do.

The real threat appears to be aimed at skilled workers as a result of the levels of intelligence of the computers who appear to be threatening the workforce. The Economist recently published a list of jobs it considered to be most under threat over the next 30 years; at the top of the list were telemarketers, followed by accountants and shop assistants. The safest jobs were those of dentists and personal trainers! From my own perspective, it’s interesting that teachers aren’t even mentioned in any publication or article; not sure what underlying message there could possibly be from such an omission. A world without teachers? Could be interesting!!



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