Summary of What Will Future Jobs Look Like?

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What Will Future Jobs Look Like? summary
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The future holds “more and more things that look like science fiction, and fewer and fewer things that look like jobs.” So predicts economist and research scientist Andrew McAfee in this energetic lecture. McAfee envisions a high-tech world where machines flood the workforce and forever change the nature of human labor. Those prepared for the shift will fare best, McAfee says, so getAbstract suggests this talk to employers, employees, policy makers and educators.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How technology will revolutionize the workforce,
  • What the economic and social impact will be, and
  • What measures could mitigate the negative effects.
 

About the Speaker

Economist and author Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of management.

 

Summary

In the 1800s, the Luddites beset England’s looms to protest “the age of technological unemployment.” Their worry, which many others have voiced in the interim, was needless; employment did not plummet. But a shift is beginning. Machines are developing astonishing new abilities: They talk, see, write and comprehend. In the near future, androids and other technology will replace humans in many jobs, ushering in the “new machine age.” The change will bring economic boons. Historically, advancing technology has increased output and quality while decreasing prices. This trend will continue. Moreover, relegating the dull, tiresome work to machines will free people to take on intellectual and innovative tasks. But the shift will also bring fiscal challenges, as a fabled anecdote involving Henry Ford II and workers’ union head Walter Reuther explains: While touring a factory, Ford asked how Reuther intended to collect union dues from a workforce of robots, and Reuther countered, “How are you going to get them to buy cars?” Indeed, selling a lot of costly products, such as autos, depends on a stable, well-off middle class. Yet in America, median income has dropped in the past 15 years, and “inequality and polarization” could worsen. In economies where machines proliferate, corporate profits rise while wages fall.


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