Tag Archives | Jobs

Why Are There Any Jobs Still Left?

A Ghost In The Machine

Robert Bailey via Reason.com:

After two centuries of relentless automation, why are there more jobs than ever? Certainly, tens of millions of jobs have been lost. Whatever happened to the myriads of hostlers, blacksmiths, coopers, sucksmiths, millers, tallowmakers, wheelwrights, sicklemen, puddlers, telegraphers, stockingers, fellmongers, saddlers, ploughmen, knackers, bleacherers, weavers, thatchers, and scriveners? Most of these jobs have been either wiped out entirely or largely taken over by machines.

The advance of massively more productive machinery has clearly not led to mass unemployment. The number of people employed in advanced economies has never been higher. For example, since 1950 the number of Americans employed has nearly tripled, rising from about 58 million to nearly 149 million today. During that time the proportion of adults in the civilian workforce rose from 55 percent in 1950 to peak at 65 percent during the dot-com boom in 2000. The ratio has now dropped to 59 percent, but the lower rate is widely understood to reflect the fallout from the Great Recession, Baby Boomer cohort retirements, and younger individuals spending more time in school.

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Is the internet killing middle class jobs?

James Pethokoukis Via The Week:

The robopocalypse for workers may be inevitable. In this vision of the future, super-smart machines will best humans in pretty much every task. A few of us will own the machines, a few will work a bit — perhaps providing “Made by Man” artisanal goods — while the rest will live off a government-provided income. Silicon-based superintelligence and robots will dramatically alter labor markets — to name but one example, the most common job in most U.S. states probably will no longer be truck driver.

But what about right now? If you’re unemployed or working part-time instead of full-time, or haven’t seen a raise in years, should you blame technology?

Yes, says venture capitalist and former Intel executive Bill Davidow. In a provocative piece for Harvard Business Review, “The Internet Has Been a Colossal Economic Disappointment,” Davidow makes a strong claim: “For all its economic virtues, the internet has been long on job displacement and short on job creation.

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The Cult of Busy

By bark via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

By bark via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I am definitely a member. Every weekend I have a conversation with my boyfriend that goes like this: “I have so much to do today.” Boyfriend sighs.

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I’ll just sit in bed and watch reruns of Archer on Netflix for hours. But, I can’t say that I necessarily brag about being busy. It feels more like a trap than anything else.

via The New Zealand Herald:

We’re all just so “busy” these days. “Slammed” in fact. “Buried,” writes blogger Meredith Fineman. “There seems to be a constant exchange, even a one-upping, of just how much we have on our plates when we communicate about our work.”

Author Scott Berkun would agree. Berkun had busy bosses and busy parents, and assumed they had very important things to do.

“It seemed an easy way to see who mattered and who didn’t.

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Bill Gates: Robots Will Take Many, Many Jobs – Probably Yours

PIC: World Economic Forum (CC)

PIC: World Economic Forum (CC)

Microsoft founder and GMO enthusiast Bill Gates made some pretty grim predictions during an appearance at an event hosted by right-wing think tank the American Enterprise Institute. Grim for them? No, no, silly little person: Grim for you! According to Gates, people are underestimating the number of jobs that will be lost to robots, and unless we’re willing to cut payroll and income taxes out altogether, future businesses will likely not be willing to hire human beings that need jobs. Gates is also against raising the minimum wage, as he sees that as potential discouragement as well. So get ready to work for peanuts or not work at all.

Via the Business Insider:

Gates said that within 20 years, a lot of jobs will go away, replaced by software automation (“bots” in tech slang, though Gates used the term “software substitution”).

This is what he said:

“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing.

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Stop Saying Robots Are Destroying Jobs—They Aren’t

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.     ~Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
~Isaac Asimov

Change and the unknown may be the commonest fears, along with public speaking. All of which hold the potential of limiting progress. Perhaps some adhere to a notion of singularity, maybe ignorance, perhaps others are prone to the narratives passed down from parents. I don’t know, and I accept that. What I do know is that we all have the power to educate ourselves, and to choose. For the sake of balance I offer you this.

via MIT Technology Review

Many experts would have us believe that robots and other technologies are behind the job drought. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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Nearly Half Of American Jobs Are Likely To Be Eliminated By Computers Over The Next Two Decades

american jobs

Humanity is nearly obsolete. MIT Technology Review writes:

Rapid advances in technology have long represented a serious potential threat to many jobs ordinarily performed by people.

A recent report from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology concludes that 45 percent of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades.

The authors believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage.

Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such engineering. This “technological plateau” will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk.

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The Ugly Truth: What the Drop in Unemployment Doesn’t Tell You.


It’s the same game, only harder!

The truth is out.  We are living in a time when a shocking four out of 5 U.S. adults will struggle with joblessness or poverty.  This revelation not only flies directly in the face of another drop in unemployment, but reconfirms what many of us had already known, we’re in trouble.

If you find yourself looking for a job, you’re in an over-crowded market where the young and educated are relegated to jobs well below their intellectual station. This is due in part to the heavy competition at the of the top of the job market among the highly-skilled.  Basically, those left out of the jobs they really want are knocked down a peg, creating what Economist Paul Beaudry calls “cascading.”  The top pushes down on the middle and the middle pushes down on the bottom, burying those who are most vulnerable and under-qualified.… Read the rest

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Here’s Your Chance To Apply For NSA Whistle-Blower Edward Snowden’s Old Job

Want to be a cog in the military-industrial surveillance apparatus? Via Buzzfeed, defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton is apparently taking resumes to replace certain individuals who didn’t perform as desired:

Edward Snowden, the man who leaked top secret information about government surveillance, is currently in hiding in Hong Kong after revealing himself. His old employer has a listing posted for a job similar to the one Snowden held.

Defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden’s former employer, has a job opening for an information security engineer in Honolulu, Hawaii. A Booz Allen spokesman would not confirm that the job posting was to fill Snowden’s job. The job requirements include “top secret clearance.”

booz allen hamilton

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Did The Internet Destroy The Middle Class?

destroy the middle classVia Salon, virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier puts forth his argument that it is so:

The photography company Kodak employed more than 14,000 people. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. The number of people who are contributing to the system to make it viable is probably the same. Instagram wouldn’t work if there weren’t many millions of people using it.

So there’s still a lot of human effort, but the difference is that whereas before when people made contributions to the system that they used, they received formal benefits, which means not only salary but pensions and certain kinds of social safety nets. Now, instead, they receive benefits on an informal basis. And what an informal economy is like is the economy in a developing country slum. It’s reputation, it’s barter, it’s that kind of stuff.

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