Cowen/Tabarrok: Will Machines Take Our Jobs?

Technological innovation has long triggered fears of mass unemployment. In fact, we’ve been worried about machines coming to take our jobs for over two centuries. Time and time again, these fears have proven unfounded. Automation frees up those resources that are uniquely human and new types of jobs end up being created.

But new types of machines are also on the rise. They’re getting more capable of mimicking human intelligence, so we’re no longer only competing on physical labor. It’s a game changer.

What does that mean for employment?

Alex Tabarrok argues that the gains we’ve amassed from technological advances, including new varieties of jobs, will continue to outpace any negative effects on employment.

On the other side of the ring, Tyler Cowen argues that machine intelligence makes today very different from previous periods in history and that there is cause for concern. He says we’re in for an adjustment and need to be prepared to adapt.

There’s no doubt about it. Machines will continue to have a profound affect on how we work and the kinds of work we do. The details are up in the air, but economics can give us clearer insight into what we’re in for.

So what do you think? Let us know whose side you’re on in the comments below!

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