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Robots Won’t Steal Your Job

December 9, 2013

The notion that technological automation per se replaces human workers is a bit simplified. It’s usually more of a magnification of output than an outright replacement. For example, technological automation hasn’t replaced farm workers, it’s just made it so that one farm worker can feed a hundred times as many people. Technological automation doesn’t replace doctors, it just makes it so that one doctor can treat ten times as many patients. Robots haven’t replaced factory workers, they’ve just made it so that one tenth the number of factory workers can produce ten times as much stuff.

The objection is often raised “But what about _______, robots will never be able to do that job better than humans.” No, robots can’t completely replace humans in most professions, but information technology alone does increase the productivity of humans in nearly all professions. The end result is the same, namely, that the number of jobs per capita is shrinking, making the notion that everyone has to have a job to contribute to society and earn the right to enjoy its benefits as outmoded as the Triangle Trade.

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One Comment
  1. rodney permalink

    We are discussing here the living in an economic system and not living alone on a desert island.

    The only moral outcome of improved technology and automation is reduction of the average INTENSITY of work effort, and/or a voluntary reduction of average number of hours of formal work chosen by a member of the economy. Otherwise, there are three ways, and ONLY three ways, for a person to “enjoy the benefits” of that economy:

    1) Participating in that economy by thinking and working
    2) Mooching, panhandling, etc., by playing off of others sympathy (this can be moral)
    3) Stealing, which includes when the government steals for you. (this is NEVER moral)

    Which method are you using Mr. Dormio?

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