Joining in on the robot pileup

Here is me talking about robots.  Here is the conclusion:

One of the concerns is that even with current technology robots can essentially work for an implied wage of $4 an hour achieving many of the same tasks that a low skilled worker can achieve. If robots could do all unskilled work for $4 an hour, where does that leave our hypothetical low skilled worker?

Even in the extreme case, where there are a set of people who could never have the skills to be gainfully employed due to the arrival of robots, the answer here is not to stand in the way of the technological improvement.

The key question to ask is how does the individual live in a society where the “reservation job” now pays a lot less?

The simple answer seems to be that we allow people in this situation the opportunity to increase their skills, and where they can’t redistribute some of the gains from mechanisation to these people in the form of an income payment – where the income payment represents the fact that the “reservation job” that previously gave an individual a certain standard of living no longer exists.

The existence of an unemployment benefit, the existence of student loans, and the subsidisation of education are clear and consistent methods that society has already taken on board to deal with the possibility of the increasing mechanisation of low skilled work – and it is this these types of solutions that are appropriate moving forward, not an arbitrary call to stand in the way of technological innovation.

As a result, the rise of the robots is not something to fear, as long as society and the government that represents it are conscious of the changes that are occurring – and that they provide a security net for those who may otherwise lose out.

1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the debate on monetary policy for some time.  And I’m also in agreement with the fact that manufacturing is shrinking (in a way akin to the agricultural revolution) and that this is likely to […]

Comments are closed.