Folks have been worried about machines taking their jobs for decades. Now, it's finally starting to happen. It's already happened at Lowe's, newspapers have already replaced some sports writers, and robots can now serve drinks at the bar. Is your job next?
Wendell Wallach, a consultant, ethicist and scholar at the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, says we are at the "tipping point" where the latest technology is replacing and displaces more jobs than the amount of jobs it is creating. To make matters worse, there's no indication that the trend is slowing down.
“This is an unparalleled situation and one that I think could actually lead to all sorts of disruptions once the public starts to catch on that we are truly in the midst of technological unemployment," Wallach said during a presentation at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs on Tuesday.
In fact, a study from 2013 by Oxford University backs this up. According to it, nearly half of the jobs in America can be automated and digitized in the next 10 to 20 years. Wallach noted that this could wreak havoc on the American economy.
"When people no longer receive the money from wages they need to support their families, it is hard to know what they will do, but in the past and in other countries this has been thought of as a situation ripe for a revolution," Wallach said.
What are we to do? There's no clear-cut solution just yet, but there is an idea.
"That kind of dire response can of course be avoided through welfare reforms or job subsidies, but these would require redistributing some of the capital growth achieved through from increased productivity," he said.