Concern over jobs due to automation is a rather historic concept. At the beginning of the industrial age, textile workers in the UK protested against automation (1881) due to fear of being robbed of their livelihood.
President Kennedy, in 1961, said “the major challenge of the sixties is to maintain full employment at a time when automation is replacing men.”
Having PCs enter into our lives in the 80s, many of us thought that computers would replace us, the human workforce.
In reality, however, none of this happened and automations created more jobs than the jobs that were lost.
Here is a dialog I had with Margaret, our secretary, mainly a typist using an IBM typewriter in those years:
- What will I do when you will be typing your own letter on your PC, Dr. Beba?
- You will become a computer programmer Margaret.
Indeed, in 18 months, Margaret became a computer programmer after taking some computer classes and working harder at work.
I am a firm believer that each automation cycle shifts the development of the human race to a higher evolution level. At the present day, I expect the same to happen with the infusion of artificial intelligence (AI) into our lives in a massive way.
Here the main concern is around the mid skill level work. Those who will adapt to the change will skip into the high skill level work force, and others who resist the change will end up in the low skill level work force.