At the Real World Economics blog, Dean Baker argues that, those proposing the Reign of the Robots, have some evidence to find and that (US) economic policy makers are pursuing policies in direct contradiction to the implications of such an event.
Robots should mean increasing productivity/worker because there are less workers. Robots should mean an increase in investment particularly in ICT. The stats don’t show this.
Baker argues that the fear that Robots are creating a reserve army of labour is contrary to US policy, which seems based on a fear of inflation caused by excessive demand (for labour). Both monetary and fiscal policy is aimed at reducing demand (idiots). Also the policy response to the so-called pensions crisis, has the impact of reducing demand, because they are worried there aren’t enough workers.
Baker argues in his article argues that there is room for both increased Labour productivity, and increased employment. The Robots aren’t stealing our jobs yet.
This is a debate that would be better informed with a historical view on how the global economy has survived previous technology shocks. When I find it, I’ll let you know.
The image is taken from a Guardian article, Robots, hot desking & heat sensors: meet the office of tomorrow., itself an interesting forecast of the world of work tomorrow. It starts with a virtual presence, and moves onto refocusing the office as a place of collaboration; the fact is that for some businesses, it’s also a place of surveillance, if only for compliance purposes.