IZA World of Labor - Who owns the robots rules the world


The 2012 publication Race against the Machine makes the case that the digitalization of work activities is proceeding so rapidly as to cause dislocations in the job market beyond anything previously experienced [1]. Unlike past mechanization/automation, which affected lower-skill blue-collar and white-collar work, today's information technology affects workers high in the education and skill distribution. Machines can substitute for brains as well as brawn. On one estimate, about 47% of total US employment is at risk of computerization [2]. If you doubt whether a robot or some other machine equipped with digital intelligence connected to the internet could outdo you or me in our work in the foreseeable future, consider news reports about an IBM program to "create" new food dishes (chefs beware), the battle between anesthesiologists and computer programs/robots that do their job much cheaper, and the coming version of Watson ("twice as powerful as the original") based on computers connected over the internet via IBM's Cloud [3].