The Automated Future

by Christopher Paul on November 21, 2012

Kyle Baxter gave some thought to how robots and computers will continue to perform tasks – both simple and complex – in place of humans in the future. In particular, he focuses on how computers, at some point, will be able to perform subjective analysis on data like x-ray, CT, and MRI scans as well as basic research and analysis work that typically involves highly paid workers:

Is there any reason to think that computers will never be able to do this kind of basic research and summarization? I don’t think so. What this suggests is that automation will challenge many kinds of knowledge work just as much as low and semi-skilled work. Indeed, companies will have even more reason to automate these kinds of jobs, because they are generally very well-paid jobs.

Manufacturing and retail job elimination, then, is just the first wave of many to come. The question, though, is not how to get those jobs back and protect the ones that still exist. That isn’t going to happen, is counter-productive and a waste of time. The question to ask is, when many of the jobs people depend on our automated, what kind of jobs will they do instead?

It’s a good question to ask – and one we should start to answer now – because as we move closer to all jobs being automated, what’s left for humans to do?

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