I like how this report focuses more on the role of technology than the recession itself. I've been thinking about this issue for several years now. It's apparent to me, "Great Recession" or not, these jobs would have been wiped out by technology. The recession may be more of a symptom of a far greater problem on the immediate horizon for humanity than a cause.
I'm writing about this issue in my negative utopia fiction, "The STARLING Series." The 15-year-old narrator, Simon Laramie, realizes that opportunities for him in the near-future are virtually gone, a phenomena that is largely the result of exponentially increased technologies within a system of unquestioning faith in technology that has escaped the parameters of humanity itself. In this excerpt, Simon talks about how supercomputers have replaced most jobs that people used to do. (Note: I've written much more within the series about this issue.)
"There just aren’t very many jobs left for real people. We don’t need real human pilots or even human operators on the ground now because The Drones can fly themselves everywhere. The Drones’ supercomputers never need sleep like a human operator. They can fly themselves faster and higher and stronger than any human pilot, even a genetically modified human, could ever fly any machine."
Although the writing of more and more jobs being eliminated (replaced by far fewer jobs) has been on the wall at least since the 1990s, some folks, particularly some in the upper middle class, have comforted themselves with a belief that their "high end" jobs could never be outsourced or replaced by technology.
"That won't happen to me!" is a common mantra, until yet another job disappears. More and more this is becoming a job that no one would have thought could have possibly been replaced only a few years ago. And far more often than not there is no new job to replace it and fewer and fewer human beings are able to relearn everything fast enough.
As the level of technology continues its exponential increase (doubling far faster than ever before in human history), as technology changes the planet far faster than most individual human beings can keep up, it's becoming apparent that far from any career "being immune," we may indeed reach a point much sooner than we think in which nearly every human job is replaceable by supercomputers. When exactly something like this will happen, no one knows, but we must realize it may be just around the corner.
Here's an interesting quote from the AP report:
"The jobs that are going away aren't coming back," says Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of "Race Against the Machine." ''I have never seen a period where computers demonstrated as many skills and abilities as they have over the past seven years."
There are many reasons I see a negative utopia, but my simple answer is this:
It's obvious that the whole point of increased technology is to increase profits for those who are currently capable of owning the machines. Therefore, contrary to what any educational institution projects or claims according to the current "national storyline," jobs will not increase because of technology, but will continue to decrease.
The whole point of building a machine is to replace a human being, because the machine can do it faster, cheaper and perhaps "more efficiently," depending on the job.
So human beings continue to build these machines with this purpose, not for the purpose of increasing jobs.
Technologically, I believe we are going into a different point in history than inventions of the past in which a limited number of jobs were replaced by the steam engine for example. When the steam engine was built, there were no computers. But today we have computers that are growing more powerful more quickly, and perhaps we will soon see an era of quantum computers. We're going far past our previous inventions/levels. Technology itself will leap outside of human hands. It will begin to increase itself faster than anything we can comprehend, manage or control.
What do you think about all this? Have you lost your job recently because of the enormous increase of technology in the past five or 10 years? Does this mean that every job may be replaced in every five-year period or less? How can human beings possibly retrain or keep up educationally at these new speeds?
Should society begin to discuss how far we will allow computers to go or if limits are possible?
Should every human job be replaced? What will society look like and what will happen to most human beings when 90 percent of jobs are gone (if not 95 or even 99 percent?) Who is currently winning from the lightning speed increases of technology and who is losing?
Share your thoughts! Leave some comments (keep in mind, I'm OK if you disagree with my thoughts here or if you believe technology will bring the promised positive utopia, prosperity and employment for all. If that's your thinking, then by all means, let us know your thoughts. Explain how the positive utopia will work for everyone? Would love to learn something new about this or take a look at it from a different angle.)