When you shake your fist, screaming “They took our jobs!” You can stare at your computer rather than the day laborers standing outside Home Depot.
In an essay posted on Good, Andrew argues that technology is the greatest enemy of the working class. He cites an MIT report that says while high-skilled, high-income jobs and low-skilled, low-income jobs are both growing, a number of middle-class professions that don’t require college degrees are shrinking due to technological advances.
Today, a Japanese company called Fanuc, Ltd., has industrial robots making other industrial robots in a “lights out” factory. (That’s the somewhat unsettling term for a fully automated production facility where you don’t need lights because you don’t need humans.) That’s where we’re headed.
It’s not just manufacturing, either. Automated call centers are replacing customer-service agents. Automated checkout stations are replacing grocery-store clerks. When the science of computer vision advances sufficiently, we’ll have algorithms, not humans, evaluating X-rays at airport security checkpoints and screening user-generated content for sites like Facebook.
At least we’ll be able to find work again once robots work out that whole enslavement plan.