A.I. Will Create Far More Jobs Than It Kills

    Technology & Jobs

    I had a friend in high school who worked for Sentry Insurance as a typist for what would be about $40 per hour today – and man was I jealous.

    The law firms and investment banks I worked at in the 1980s also had “typist pools” for the old guys (we youngsters were utterly perplexed by the inefficiency of turning in dictation or notes to a typist only to have to go back and forth over and over).

    But alas, all of those jobs were wiped out by evil technology – namely word processors and personal computers.

    So, did my friend sink into a drug-addled despair? Nope. She started a marketing company and made a fantastic living!

    I suspect most of the other unemployed typists found new careers as well.

    Ignore the Hysteria on AI and Jobs

    This is the point Andy Kessler made in this recent WSJ Column: Ignore the Hysteria on AI and Jobs 

    In any case, the column is excellent, and I wanted to share a few of his points because so many people are so worried about AI wiping out jobs. 

    Kessler first told us about a public radio interviewer telling him, “I’m against technology destroying careers and lives. It has to stop. That’s why we have unions.”

    But, with that mentality, we’d have stopped the automobile industry because it wiped out millions of farming, horse-tending, buggy and saddle-making jobs.

    We’d also still have operators connecting phone calls, and the internet would be a pipe dream.

    There would be no automated toll tags or transponders for bridges and toll roads, and there would be no apps for money transfers because … those poor bank tellers!

    And does anyone remember President Obama lamenting ATMs as job stealers?

    In any case, everyone always thinks the newest and latest technology will wipe out far too many jobs, whether the technology is telephones, movies, radios, automobiles, computers, spreadsheets, robotic automation, the internet, touchscreens, or… artificial technology!

    Here is Kessler’s key paragraph:

    “New and better jobs are always created, yet no one believes it. We no longer have “Mad Men”-era typing pools, stenographers, compositors or typesetters. A 2022 paper studying automation and job categories … states that “roughly 60% of employment in 2018 is found in job titles that did not exist in 1940.” A Goldman Sachs report from March goes further: “85% of employment growth over the last 80 years is explained by the technology-driven creation of new positions.” Bingo”

    So, yes, millions of jobs have been wiped out by technology, but we also have the highest number of new jobs we have ever seen – with a very tight labor market still.

    Kessler cites other studies pointing out that 300 million jobs may be at stake because of automation and IBM’s threat that AI will wipe out 30% of its consumer-facing workforce.

    His point is that we have heard it all before. We don’t need to panic, and we don’t need universal income. 

     “Progress will always ‘eat people,’ which means we need education, training and temporary safety nets to help workers make the transition to better jobs.”

    So, this is just one more reason to relax.

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