The New Deal and Economic Risks of Automation
Categorically, some people have appeared not to be taken by the idea of having AI and robots substitute and relieve humans from their tedious jobs. According to them, the thought of having humans become redundant in the daily aspects of life is simply utopian, not even in the next 50-100 years. However, we in the sci-fi field totally disagree with this notion. We strongly believe that AI and robots in the future. Thus, if the government is not thinking within this box, then we are doomed for an economic blow.
Going down history lane, we would agree that the Industrial Revolution came with both advantages and disadvantages – inventions leading to loss of jobs. However, loss of jobs had been on an increase since the 1980s after the world took a paradigm shift towards computers. To this effect, industries opened up more job vacancies to fill the lost ones, though in different cities and regions.
Nevertheless, we have a tsunami on the horizon: automation using AI. This will automatically have a direct negative impact on the employment rate. This event will move towards affecting a generation (probably three generations) as the unemployment rate will keep skyrocketing at the expense of the Great Depression.
The automation tsunami
No doubt, automation comes with a price and that is un-/under-employment. This will not take effect immediately, not in 50-100 years but definitely within the next decade.
Others who disagree with Mnuchin explained what automation fully entails with the use of certain industries. They believed that automation is going to leave a lot of Americans jobless in the future. For example, in the customer care unit of any industry, 40-50 percent of the job performed is strictly automated. From updating payment cards, addresses, and passwords to other important processes. In addition, over 3 million employees of call center agencies will lose their jobs if automated. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will render a lot of people redundant within the shortest time.
The New Deal
There is a need for us to address the aftermath of automation and this can only be done with a New Deal. First of all, it should be difficult from the previous one under FDR. It needs to be aggressive, big, and definitely pre-emptive. Let us be clear, if nothing is done to check the effects of automation, then the repercussion would leave tens of millions of Americans jobless. This will, in turn, create a fatal blow to the history of the American economy which we might never recover from generations to come.
To begin with, apart from the over 3 million customer care jobs we mentioned earlier, common jobs that employ a very large part of the population like trucks and taxi drivers, cashiers, security guards, retail clerks, and many more will also be affected. It is important to note that people that fall in this category don’t even have the slightest idea of the introduction of AI and automation (many of them are not well informed technologically). Also, their low income leaves no room for them to save and further their education or retrain themselves into better forms.
According to a research, 88 percent of Americans seem to be alright with the idea of losing their daily bread even after being shown the Oxford University study which believes there would be a rise of the unemployment rate by 47 percent due to automation. Therefore, the next two decades will entail an increase in the unemployment rate leaving Americans jobless. The question remains, are Americans taking precautionary measures?
What’s the answer?
In seeking solutions towards the unpleasant predictions, lots of technocrats and elites in the world of technology had dropped a series of suggestions. One of them suggests that, in order for us to further reduce the progress rate of automation, then ae should consider taxing the robots. That way, we would be able to divert the money recouped into creating significant human jobs which artificial intelligence cannot yet figure out. Another believed self-driving cars should be taxed.
However, taxation also comes with its inconvenience. In the long run, it will serve as a blockage to enjoying and achieving the productivity gains of the technology. This blockage would serve as a helping hand indirectly to the shadowed ones. There is also a problem of how to collect and measure the amount of tax appropriately.
Elon Musk also gave his own suggestion. To him, universal basic income is the best solution for helping those that will lose their jobs when automation takes over completely. The basic income was tested in Oakland to check its potency.
Lots of people aren’t really pleased with this approach but there had to be measures and adequate safety nets set aside as shields against the negative effects of automation. As UBI cut-short its incentives, it also risks pushing millions of people into the waiting arms of subsistence living. This action won’t go down well with lots of workers as they will struggle to survive this phase with little or no upward improvement. This essay explains it well enough.
People and platforms
The first step should be the right step. To this effect, building up barricades and defenses against the tsunami are paramount. Thus, the key areas and industries where the tsunami will mostly affect should be shielded. The new deal should focus greatly on re-education and re-training of those in the vulnerable industry. New skills, knowledge, and so much more will help the situation a great deal. In case the government feels the responsibility is too much to bear, they could partner with private employers to propagate this new training and education schemes. The staffs should be kept abreast with the development as the vacancies available keeps declining due to automation.
Technologists can also play a very big part in these defenses. Software that requires more of human input than AI should be created. For example, creativity, empathy, and other attributes unique to humans alone should be created. The Government should also lend a helping hand where necessary – partnering with these companies that create this software and platforms that make use of most human labor.
Furthermore, the overflowing human labor which the great automation shift will make redundant would need to be put to use. Thus, platforms where the AI would have problems unlike the human labors should be taken advantage of. For example, areas of design, creativity, empathy, and judgment.