Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Automation – Job Loss or Better Life?

Automation leads to job loss which leads to loss of income for the displaced people.

Automation also leads to cheaper goods and services improving our standard of living.

So, because of automation, some people loose out, others gain. Historically, people who have benefited, far outnumbered those who have lost out. Jobs loss in one sector has always been compensated by better paying jobs in some other sector. Agricultural job loss led to jobs in manufacturing sector. Similarly, manufacturing job loss led to jobs in the service sector. The net effect have been an improvement in standard of living for all.

Many believe that the historical trend continue. Job loss to automation will inevitably be followed by creation of new jobs in emerging sectors. New jobs will we created in areas which we are not even aware of today.

Is there any reason to doubt that this trend will not continue? That sufficient number of jobs will not be created? That we are going to witness a discontinuity?

4 Reasons why this trend may not continue

Linear thinking does not always work. Discontinuity happens. Stock bubbles do burst. Growth is never infinite. Even Chinese economy slow down.

In last few decades we have undergone a technological and social transformation which, I believe, has fundamentally altered our lives. Here are four trends which is a result of this transformation:

(1) Economy of scarcity to economy of abundance

We had always lived in an economy of scarcity where demand outstripped the supply. Most luxury items were beyond the reach of common person. When prices of products were brought down through automation more units were sold. There always were opportunity for introducing new products which will sell.

In last few decades we have made the transition from economy of scarcity to the economy of abundance. We have more choice of products and services than we can make sense of. There are too many variety of every thing. Anything that you want can be ordered in one click!

Now there is no guarantee of increased sale when the prices are brought down. There may be no takers of a product even if the price is zero.

With this abundance, the scope of introducing new products and services without cannibalizing  something existing becomes limited.

So, where is the scope of net large scale job creation?

(2) Virtual alternative to scarce product

There are and always will be products or services which will have a limited supply. The number of people who can watch the Wimbledon finals from the stadium will always be limited. But there are no limits of how many people can watch it on TV.

A trip to “Machu Picchu” may be too expensive but it is within the realm of current technology to offer a 3-D virtual tour of that place. And there will be no limit to how many people can undertake that virtual tour.

When when scares product gets replaced by virtual alternative, the real thing is only for those who really…really want it and can afford it. For others the virtual alternative is available in abundance.

More things available in abundance reduces the scope of additional products or services.

So, where is the scope of net large scale job creation?

(3) Receding limits to automation

In past, there were limits to what can be automated. It was clearly understood that we humans were good at things which involved thinking, creativity, intuition etc.  The machines were good at tasks which were repetitive. The boundary were clearly defined.

Recent technological advances have started blurring that boundary. Human stronghold is receding and receding fast. Even Magnus Carlsen cannot hope to compete with a decent chess playing program. There are legal hurdle and ethical question to a self-driven car than technology issues.

With the available technology platforms and services, new products can be introduced to an unlimited global audience with only a skeleton staff.

So, where is the scope of net large scale job creation?

(4) Law of Scalability

Those who win … win big. Every other player looses!

The benefit of automation is reaped by the creators of successful products and those who have financed it! Those who are displaced by the automation are worse off.

Few winners … many looser.

So, where is the scope of net large scale job creation?

What will the likely new world look like?

Am I predicting a doomsday scenario where there will be an elite class that enjoys all the privileged and luxury ruling over a jobless deprived class?

Not at all!

As I have explained in my earlier post [The Hunger Games and Impact of Automation] that is not a likely scenario.

What is obvious to me is that the solution is not going to be a linear extension of the past. In all likelihood the solution will “emerge” slowly from our collective wisdom. It may require, as they call it, Out-of-the-box thinking.

Once we acknowledge that there is a problem and linear thinking will not solve it, we would have taken the first major step.

Obviously, the socialist / communist solution of income redistribution has not worked. So let us not consider it.

free+premiumIn my opinion …

… we are moving towards a “Freemium Economy” powered by voluntary organizations and open source like movement funded by Venture Capitalists.

I also suggest that be will need to move beyond thinking about “Return-on-Investment”, “Productivity-Improvement”, “Market-forces-setting-the-price”, “Protection-of-Intellectual-Property.

What do I mean by all this?

Well … wait for my next post!

Related posts and reading

 

 


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
Google

Latest Stories
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
"We focus on composable infrastructure. Composable infrastructure has been named by companies like Gartner as the evolution of the IT infrastructure where everything is now driven by software," explained Bruno Andrade, CEO and Founder of HTBase, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Tintri focuses on the Ops side of the DevOps, which basically is pushing more and more of the accessibility of the infrastructure to the developers and trying to get behind the scenes," explained Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...