Robot Economy Could Cause Up To 75 Percent Unemployment
The Associated Press has a three-part series on one of the biggest questions business and society will face in coming years.
Are we prepared for a world where 50 to 75 percent of workers are unemployed?
It seems like a ridiculous question, but it's something economists and technologists say we seriously need to think about.
Rice University computer science professor Moshe Vardi says that in 25 years "driving [done] by people will look quaint; it will look like a horse and buggy."
So there go many of the approximately 4 million driving jobs out there. Same for sanitation, and those are just a couple examples of how physical jobs will be replaced.
Smarter computers mean that any mid-paying job that involves a routine: data entry, number crunching, operations, and so on, will be replaced as well, which will remove a big piece of the approximately 7 million business and financial operations jobs that exist in the United States.
When you add all of that up, some think 50 percent unemployment is optimistic. Software entrepreneur Martin Ford predicts something closer to 75 percent unemployment by the end of the century. "The vast majority of people do routine work," Ford says. "The human economy has always demanded routine work." And eventually, that work won't be done by humans.
Read more: businessinsider.com