Working man blues. Jobs and automation

Workers always lose. Economics always wins.’

University of Technology Sydney Vice Chancellor Attila Brungs referenced a video at a conference I attended last year. Humans need not apply doesn’t need much of an introduction but it does flesh out more of the ideas, opportunities and threats inherent in automation, especially robotics, driver-less cars and the broader themes of autos, and the use of self-teaching bots.

Technology-based automation, in this case AI, is a threat to pretty much any job:

Data Scientist? Try Quill…

A ‘natural language generation platform for the enterprise that goes beyond reporting the numbers—it creates perfectly written narratives to convey meaning for any intended audience (that) adds value to data by identifying the most relevant information and relaying it through professional, conversational language. The result? Intelligent narratives that efficiently communicate the insights buried in Big Data that people can comprehend, act on and trust.’ Quill

Doctor, teacher, lawyer or other professional? Watson

According to IBM, ‘We produce over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data everyday and 80% of it is unstructured. Therefore, it’s invisible to current technology. IBM Watson is a cognitive system that can understand that data, learn from it and reason through it. That’s how industries as diverse as healthcare, retail, banking and travel are using Watson to reshape their industries.‘…

‘The world witnessed an early preview of cognitive computing in 2011, when Watson won the famous TV show using just one API (application programming interface). Today, Watson has 28, powered by 50 different technologies.’

According to Humans need not apply, 25% of the workforce could be made unemployable by technologies available and working today, 45% by the technologies outlined in the 15 minute film.

Automation, the driver of abundance, is going to deliver an abundance of people without jobs, so what to do with those people, that human capacity?And how does all that fit with capitalism?

Let’s leave that for another day…