What if the Government Gave Everyone a Paycheck?

Robert B. Reich in the New York Times:

If climate change, nuclear standoffs, Russian trolls, terrorist threats and Donald Trump in the White House don’t cause you feelings of impending doom, you might think about artificial intelligence. I’m not just referring to big-brained robots taking over civilization from us smaller-brained humans, but the more imminent possibility they’ll take over our jobs.

It’s already happening. Robots and related forms of artificial intelligence are rapidly supplanting what remain of factory workers, call-center operators and clerical staff. Amazon and other online platforms are booting out retail workers. We’ll soon be saying goodbye to truck drivers, warehouse personnel and professionals who do whatever can be replicated, including pharmacists, accountants, attorneys, diagnosticians, translators and financial advisers. Machines may soon do a better job than doctors at scanning for cancer.

This doesn’t mean a future without jobs, as some doomsayers predict. But robots will almost certainly push down wages in all the remaining human-touch jobs (child care, elder care, home health care, personal coaches, sales and so on) that robots can’t do because they’re not, well, human.

More here.

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