SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui

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
Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector. 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 wait for long development cycles that pro...
The level of trust we have with individuals, businesses, and technology affects our lives daily. This is important to remember when discussing new technologies. For example, our level of trust is a critical factor when evaluating a new technology as a potential solution for providing business value. Given the importance of trust, imagine one's reaction upon hearing that blockchain is a "trustless trust" system. On the surface, that does sound like an oxymoron. This paper discusses how "trustless...
Public clouds dominate IT conversations but the next phase of cloud evolutions are "multi" hybrid cloud environments. The winners in the cloud services industry will be those organizations that understand how to leverage these technologies as complete service solutions for specific customer verticals. In turn, both business and IT actors throughout the enterprise will need to increase their engagement with multi-cloud deployments today while planning a technology strategy that will constitute a ...
Data center, on-premise, public-cloud, private-cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, IoT, AI, edge, SaaS, PaaS... it's an availability, security, performance and integration nightmare even for the best of the best IT experts. Organizations realize the tremendous benefits of everything the digital transformation has to offer. Cloud adoption rates are increasing significantly, and IT budgets are morphing to follow suit. But distributing applications and infrastructure around increases risk, introdu...
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It's clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Th...
"Calligo is a cloud service provider with data privacy at the heart of what we do. We are a typical Infrastructure as a Service cloud provider but it's been designed around data privacy," explained Julian Box, CEO and co-founder of Calligo, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Cloud is the motor for innovation and digital transformation. CIOs will run 25% of total application workloads in the cloud by the end of 2018, based on recent Morgan Stanley report. Having the right enterprise cloud strategy in place, often in a multi cloud environment, also helps companies become a more intelligent business. Companies that master this path have something in common: they create a culture of continuous innovation. In his presentation, Dilipkumar Khandelwal outlined the latest...
Never mind that we might not know what the future holds for cryptocurrencies and how much values will fluctuate or even how the process of mining a coin could cost as much as the value of the coin itself - cryptocurrency mining is a hot industry and shows no signs of slowing down. However, energy consumption to mine cryptocurrency is one of the biggest issues facing this industry. Burning huge amounts of electricity isn't incidental to cryptocurrency, it's basically embedded in the core of "mini...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City. Our Silicon Valley 2019 schedule will showcase 200 keynotes, sessions, general sessions, power panels, and...
The dream is universal: heuristic driven, global business operations without interruption so that nobody has to wake up at 4am to solve a problem. Building upon Nutanix Acropolis software defined storage, virtualization, and networking platform, Mark will demonstrate business lifecycle automation with freedom of choice and consumption models. Hybrid cloud applications and operations are controllable by the Nutanix Prism control plane with Calm automation, which can weave together the following: ...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
Andrew Keys is co-founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereum.
Japan DX Pavilion at @CloudEXPO Silicon Valley