December 27 2015
by: Paul Martin
Eighty million U.S. jobs are at risk from automation, a central bank official said Thursday.
Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane, speaking at the Trades Union Congress in London, said 80 million U.S. and 15 million U.K. jobs are in danger of being taken over by robots.
In October, the U.S. employed close to 143 million people outside the farm sector.
Haldane added the jobs that are most at risk from automation tend to have the lowest wage. “In other words, technology could act like a regressive income tax on the unskilled. It could further widen income disparities,” he said.
He did allow that, in past experience, technological advances end up boosting demand for new goods from new industries requiring new workers. “Yet the smarter machines become, the greater the likelihood that the space remaining for uniquely-human skills could shrink further,” Haldane said. He said what was previously unthinkable even a decade ago is now reality, like a driverless car.
February 13 2013
by: Zeitgeist Movement
August 8 2012
by: Katharine Gammon
Robots are stealing American jobs. In a 76,000-square-foot zone of the 832,000-square-foot Zappos warehouse in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, 72 robotic "drive units" organize and deliver shelves of goods—from argyle socks to handbags. People remain in charge (for now), because it takes human dexterity to pack items into a box for shipping. But the bots still have plenty to do, picking up the slack on boring tasks like shifting inventory.
The droids roll at 3 miles an hour, navigating via barcodes stuck to the floor and commands from a central server. And they're buff, able to lift half a ton.
Expect to see more swarms soon; Kiva Systems, the company that created them, is working with Staples and Gap, too. "Watching the warehouse from the ground is like seeing a choreographed dance, a concert of motion," says Mick Mountz, Kiva's CEO. "But conceptually, it's like computer-chip architecture." Funny—that's just what they said about Skynet.
August 1 2012
by: Sam Pizzigati
A brick factory makes 10,000 bricks a day. But then the factory happens on a new brick-making technique, reorganizes production, and starts making 15,000 bricks a day, with the same workers working the same hours.
Or should all of the above — owner, workers, and consumers — benefit?
America's answer in the decades right after World War II: all of the above.
Corporations did just fine in the immediate postwar decades as the nation’s productivity rose steadily. But so did average Americans, as both workers and consumers. Over the course of the postwar years, Americans shared the wealth that higher productivity created. The nation would experience the greatest epoch of middle class prosperity the world had ever seen.
What happened next? That’s the story that Lawrence Mishel, the president of the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, tells in his just-released preview on productivity from the upcoming new edition of EPI’s biannual economic factbook series, The State of Working America .
July 21 2012
by: Peter Murray
As news emerged Friday of Walmart's decision to eliminate health benefits for new part-time workers and substantially increase premiums on existing plans, the retail goliath appears to be joining a larger, decade-long trend: the erosion of employer-provided health insurance.
The largest employer in the world attributed the decision for making the cuts to rising health care costs. Under the plan, new hires who work under 24 hours a week on average will not be eligible for company health coverage, while premiums for some existing plans may go up as much as 40 percent, along with other benefit reductions, The New York Times reported. Additionally, spouses of new hires who work less than 33 hours a week will no longer be covered.
"The current health care system is unsustainable for everyone and, like other businesses, we've had to make choices we wish we didn't have to make," said Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter. "Our country needs to find a way to reduce the cost of health care, particularly in this economy."