The Fear of Mass Unemployment due to Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Is Unfounded
People are arguing over whether artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will eliminate human employment. People seem to have an all-or-nothing belief that either the use of technology in the workplace will destroy human employment and purpose or it won’t affect it at all. The replacement of human jobs with robotics and AI is known as “technological unemployment.”
Although robotics can turn materials into economic goods in a fraction of the time it would take a human, in some cases using minimal human energy, some claim that AI and robotics will actually bring about increasing human employment. According to a 2020 Forbes projection, AI and robotics will be a strong creator of jobs and work for people across the globe in the near future. However, also in 2020, Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo published a study that projected negative job growth when AI and robotics replace human jobs, predicting significant job loss each time a robot replaces a human in the workplace. But two years later, an article in The Economist showed that many economists have backtracked on their projection of a high unemployment rate due to AI and robotics in the workplace. According to the 2022 Economist article, “Fears of a prolonged period of high unemployment did not come to pass. . . . The gloomy narrative, which says that an invasion of job-killing robots is just around the corner, has for decades had an extraordinary hold on the popular imagination.” So which scenario is correct?
Contrary to popular belief, no industrialized nation has ever completely replaced human energy with technology in the workplace. For instance, the steam shovel never put construction workers out of work; whether people want to work in construction is a different question. And bicycles did not become obsolete because of vehicle manufacturing: “Consumer spending on bicycles and accessories peaked at $8.3 billion in 2021,” according to an a
Article from Mises Wire