A World Without Work? Don’t Hold Your BreathPredictions of mass unemployment caused by robots continue to be wildly inaccurate
Will we soon be sitting on couches watching reality TV shows while robots work 24/7 doing all of the work humans used to do? The idea that robots will replace most human labor has been around for almost 100 years and has become more popular with each new advance, from sensors and microprocessors to enterprise software, data analytics, and AI. The latest wave of robot hysteria was tweaked by The Singularity is Near in 2005, emboldened by Race Against the Machine in 2012, and sent over the top by The Second Machine Age and The Rise of Robots in 2016, and A World Without Work in 2020, all best sellers. A World Without Work was shortlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey 2020 Business Book of the Year, in addition Read More ›
Sci-fi Saturday: When “The Workplace” Is Anything ButThe short film (less than 10 min) starts with a woman reassuring herself, unsettlingly, “I AM the boss”
“The Workplace” at DUST by Carlyn Hudson (April 1, 2021, 9:32 min) We’ve been warned: “You are very qualified.” For what though? “In a future economy subsumed by technological employment, humans continue to find meaning through their ‘work’ — where the lucky ones get to show up to an “office” from 9-5 and live out their mundane workplace fantasies.” This sci-fi short will appeal to many who have had a job at the corner of Rat and Race and sense that’s a blessing compared to the alternative. It starts with a woman reassuring herself, “I AM the boss,” and cuts to her interviewing a job candidate who seems off-putting at first but appears qualified — and then things get weird. Read More ›
Woke Medicine Is Very Bad for Everyone’s HealthThe issues raised by Critical Race Theory are real but I believe that the diagnosis is deeply flawed
Critical Race Theory and claims about structural racism in American society are infiltrating medical care and education. There is a major effort in medical education today to indoctrinate students and resident physicians into Critical Theory. This is, in my view, a deeply misguided approach.The issues raised by Critical Race Theory are real but I believe that the diagnosis is deeply flawed. The question we face is: how can we protect medical education and practice from this latest iteration of Marxism, and at the same time work to improve deficiencies in education and medical care that Critical Race Theorists correctly point out? It is undeniable that there are structural problems in medicine. Many of these problems impede good medical care, especially Read More ›
Beware of Geeks Bearing Formulas—It’s Often PseudosciencePseudoscience based on data without theory and theory without data undermine the credibility of real science, which is the key to human progress
Elsewhere I have warned of the perils of making decisions based on data without theory. For example, the patterns discovered by data-mining computer algorithms are often nothing more than meaningless coincidences. It is also perilous to go to the opposite extreme—to make decisions based on theory without data. Once upon a time, for example, economists were fond of sketching labor demand and supply curves and assuming that the economy was at their intersection. That is, labor demand is equal to supply, so that everyone who wants to work is working. The unemployed have chosen to be unemployed because they value leisure more than income. True believers were fond of this theory and little troubled by reality. Between 1929 and 1933, Read More ›
Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Promote Mass Automation?Caution! Robots don’t file for benefits but that’s not all we need to know about them
I understand the panic many business leaders experience as they try to stay solvent while customers evaporate. Panic, however, is a poor teacher: AI-based automation will not only not solve all their problems, it may very well add to them. AI is not a magic box into which we can stuff them and make them disappear.Read More ›
Maybe the robot will do you a favor and snatch your jobThe historical pattern is that drudgery gets automated, not creativity
Fear of toxic but improbable futures sometimes distracts us from clearly understanding and preparing for the real changes that are happening now.Read More ›
Universal Basic Income? Fear of AI Fuels Bad EconomicsIf new technology led to mass permanent unemployment, history would be an endless saga of expanding joblessness
Although the coming shift will be abrupt, new technologies enable us to focus, as economists would put it, on our comparative advantage over machines.Read More ›
Robotic Accounting DepartmentThe future of number crunching
Technology has almost entirely replaced the travel agent as well as many brick and mortar stores. But high tech tools like bots are replacing employment in, of all places, accounting. Show Notes 01:30 | Introduction; Jeremiah Marks 02:00 | Forbes and AI accounting prime time 03:00 | What is Mint? 04:48 | Natural language recognition in accounting 06:15 | What Read More ›
Remember the Luddites!The Luddites became famous for breaking machinery during the Industrial Revolution. Were they entirely wrong?
Is AI Creating the Conditions for Marxist Revolution?An analyst looks at the conditions then and now
The Hills Go High TechAn American community finding its way in the new digital economy
Is the future of jobs over?Should people be paid to let machines do the work?
Karl Marx’s Eerie AI PredictionHe felt that capitalism would fall when machines replaced human labor
Will AI lead to mass joblessness and social unrest?
A 2018 book by political scientist Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor argues that it will: “automated systems entrench social and economic inequality by design and undermine private and public welfare.”Read More ›