Automation: more jobs or unemployment?

Automation: more jobs or unemployment?

On Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 10 a.m. EST, Congressman Jim Himes (CT04),  Chairman of the U.S. House Special Committee on Economic Inequality and Growth Equality, held a hearing on "Our Changing Economy: The Economic Impacts". . In “…the Future of Innovation, Automation, and Work”, we examine the impact of technological advances in automation and digitization, as well as the impact of technological advances in the U.S. economy and on workers across the United States. Will it create jobs or will it lead to higher unemployment and stagnant wages?

This is not a new problem, and as Part 107 simplifies the commercial use of drones, many who oppose new developments such as drone delivery, warehousing, inspection, etc. have cited unemployment as a serious problem.

This is true.

Will automation create new jobs or  unemployment?

Professor Daron Acemoglu, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute, points out that automation-induced job losses  tend to have a major impact on those who are less educated and  already disadvantaged. However, this is not a new development. “Automation is not new. The beginning of the British Industrial Revolution saw the rapid development of automation technology in the textile industry, and automation played an important role in American industrialization in the 19th century,” he says in written testimony.

But Acemoglu says some automation will create jobs  and the entire workforce will benefit as long as the technology focuses on cutting costs and increasing productivity. (He contrasts useful types of automation, such as precision farming, with what he calls "soso" automation. Automated customer service lines, for example, hate it.)

“… Not all automation technologies are created equal. Cutting costs and increasing productivity has a number of offsetting changes, such as increased employment for non-automated tasks,” says Acemoglu.

Dr Shawn G. DuBravac of the Avrio Institute is even more positive about the impact of automation on people. “Technological innovation  complements and replaces workers at the same time, but  creates more opportunities than  destroys,” he says. Dubravak emphasizes that most automation technologies are used  with the operator, not the operator.

We know that technological innovation displaces American workers. But we also see how it complements work. Increasingly, there are few jobs not touched in some way by technology.

“There seems to be reports of people being rescued by drones every week, followed by drone operators. In fact, drones are being used for various tasks. Over the past few weeks,  animal control officers have been using drones to count deer in Sioux Falls,  map the wreckage of  the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and improve the safety and effectiveness of numerous engineering inspections.”

Is limiting automation the answer?

Restricting the development of automation technologies such as drones and robots is certainly not a response to concerns about job change. Not only is this similar to subjugating the hydra, but these skills provide important community lifesaving benefits  that shouldn't be tested.

And Brent Orrell, a senior research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says restricting the use of technology is not a response to protecting workers. “In the light of an increasingly automated economy, the solution is not to limit or change the course of technological change, but to create a workforce  capable of handling technology and create the necessary flexibility and adaptability  as technological change continues. Go as usual."