Lack of New Jobs

Humans used to have simple jobs. With innovation, productivity increased exponentially by introducing new tools to the job. However, since innovation enables the same task to be done by less people, less positions become available. Build up of unemployment is avoided by producing new jobs from these innovations. For instance, farming used to be done manually by many people maintaining different parts of the land. As new tools such as crop harvesters are invented, amount of workers needed to take care of the farmland decreased significantly. On the other hand, many more job positions were created for maintaining and repairing these vehicles and tools.

In recent years, however, innovation is no longer producing enough new jobs to compensate for the amount of jobs it killed. For comparison, in 1979 General Motors hired approximately 800,000 people and profited about 11 billion USD. In 2012, Google made about 14 billion USD while only employing about 58,000 people, meaning while productivity rose, rate of new jobs dropped drastically. Not only the world population is growing so fast that new jobs can’t be opened in time, automation started to occupy already existing jobs, boosting unemployment rates even further.

Machines are much more cost-effective than employing a worker who requires salary, work insurance, basic needs etc. One down side, however, was that fields machines could work on were limited. While it is hard for automated machines to accomplish unpredictable tasks such as arts and human interaction, they are much better at doing repetitive and predictable tasks, especially in factories. Since industrial jobs are killed by automation, it could be expected that new positions are opened to maintain and operate these machines. Although it did open some new positions, the amount of jobs closed were not covered.

 

With the information age, automation is entering a new phase. In recent years, a lot of work on machine learning  has been done. For the artificial intelligence to actually improve itself, huge data banks, such as clouds, are required. This information is already available since on the internet, what people are doing are always recorded and stored in these clouds. The most typical usage of such information is for an artificial intelligence to decide which advertisement to show online by learning and processing previous data. As more data is stored in clouds, as well as rapidly improving computers, artificial intelligence becomes capable of replacing even more jobs. The most noticeable fields are marketing, medicine, cooking etc.

To avoid unemployment rates to skyrocket, either cloud technology should be limited so that less positions are closed, or a new system should be implemented which would benefit both workers and consumers at the same time. If nothing is done, disaster is inevitable.

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