Automation – a little more depth

In the 1900s, the assembly line concept first came into power and due to that invention, many workers in the manufacturing industry of cars lost their jobs and as a result unemployment rose by a significant percent. Whilst it is completely true that automation of cars has increased efficiency and productivity, there are many negative effects like unemployment. Thus is automation considered to have a negative, positive or a neutral effect? Most people in our world today would have diverse opinions as each of them have been affected in different ways by automation. For example a CEO of a successful car company would favour automation as it increases productivity and efficiency of his products, thus increases his profits which is his main goal. However, an employee who worked on building the cars would see automation as a threat as he would in turn lose his job.
Automation over the past few decades has been a real scare to employees of the manufacturing industry but now the scare expands to the tertiary sector as well. Over the last few years this scare has become more prevalent in our society due to the evidence of technological unemployment. For instance such as, Larry Summers, a former American treasury secretary, looked at employment trends among American men between 25 and 54. In the 1960s only one in 20 of those men was not working. According to Mr Summers’s extrapolations, in ten years the number could be one in seven.
Moreover, the constant innovation of technology is helping it become more and more advanced and in the future companies will be able to replace more and more human labour with capital. Software these days is not only replacing low-skilled jobs like manufacturing but fairly well-paid jobs such as travel agents, bookkeepers and even secretaries. For example, Watson, the supercomputer developed by IBM won against Jeopardy’s best contestants. If a supercomputer can win against humans, what will technology do next?

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