The Good Life After Work: Project Syndicate

Workers worry about losing jobs to robots. Predictions vary about which jobs could vanish – those requiring high or low skills, routine or custom tasks. Experts base assessments on historical disruptions due to technology and mechanization, robot capabilities and aging populations in need of support. “But there is an important caveat to all this: left to the market, the gains from automation will be captured mainly by owners of the technology companies and highly educated ‘knowledge workers,’ leaving the rest of the population unemployed or in physical and intellectual servitude,” explains Robert Skidelsky for Project Syndicate. “The need for expert lawyers, consultants, accountants, psychiatrists, and human relations experts will be greater than ever.” Experts urge careful management of the transition to prevent eroding competitiveness or widening inequality. With careful investment and oversight, machines could free humans from unpleasant labor and provide unlimited leisure time. Many communities enjoy abundance, though individuals express less satisfaction with basic comforts. To rely on machines and secure happiness, people must distinguish between needs and wants as well as develop worthy goals for technology and a sense of purpose for themselves. – YaleGlobal

The Good Life After Work: Project Syndicate

To manage automation, the world must define wellbeing and have ends that are more compelling than more products and services – or risk loss of humanity
Robert Skidelsky
Sunday, April 21, 2019

Read the article from Project Syndicate about automation and labor disruptions.

Robert Skidelsky, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University and a fellow of the British Academy in history and economics, is a member of the British House of Lords. The author of a three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes, he began his political career in the Labour party, became the Conservative Party’s spokesman for Treasury affairs in the House of Lords, and was eventually forced out of the Conservative Party for his opposition to NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999.

© Project Syndicate - 2019

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