The Future of Work: When Machines Do Your Job

11. July 2012

Date: 11-07-2012
Source: Technology Review
 Researcher Andrew McAfee says advances in computing and artificial intelligence could create a more unequal society.

Future work: Andrew McAfee says machines are replacing human workers in more types of occupations.

Are American workers losing their jobs to machines?

That was the question posed by Race Against the Machine, an influential e-book published last October by MIT business school researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. The pair looked at troubling U.S. employment numbers—which have declined since the recession of 2008-2009 even as economic output has risen—and concluded that computer technology was partly to blame.

Advances in hardware and software mean it’s possible to automate more white-collar jobs, and to do so more quickly than in the past. Think of the airline staffers whose job checking in passengers has been taken by self-service kiosks. While more productivity is a positive, wealth is becoming more concentrated, and more middle-class workers are getting left behind. Read the rest of this entry »