Resistance to automation is holding back a higher standard of living in the US

The onslaught of robots and automation on all sorts of careers is a topic I’ve talked about previously. I believe as educators we need to be aware of the world our students will be inheriting. But one journalist doesn’t believe automation is happening fast enough.

Baffling because it’s starkly at odds with the evidence, and misguided because it completely misses the problem: robots aren’t destroying enough jobs. Too many sectors, such as health care or personal services, are so resistant to automation that they are holding back the entire country’s standard of living.

“Robot” is shorthand for any device or algorithm that does what humans once did, from mechanical combines and thermostats to dishwashers and airfare search sites. In the long run these advancements are good. By enabling society to produce more with the same workers, automation is a major driver of rising standards of living.

One factor not brought up in the article is wage stagnation. Unemployment may be at 4.4%, but those employed may be under-employed. How automation will play out in the end is still an unknown.

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