Automation vs Job Creation

The economic impact of ensuring a healthy and productive workforce and a low unemployment rate provides is obvious to a countries GDP. But large corporations are hitting a fork in the road where automation and job creation may not work hand in hand.

It is no longer a system only for the assembly line, but many jobs with the service are at risk of being replaced with automation.


Most of us in the West live under a capitalist system which demands that everyone have work, or be excluded from basic necessities like food and housing.

The argument is that in the not-so-distant future, we will see more and more jobs vanish to companies choosing automation of employment, and if you were faced with the decision over a worker that is error prone, can get ill, may make inconsistent judgements and many more, compared to a completely consistent, loyal worker ‘robot’ that never gets sick or tired, doesn’t require payment, only servicing a couple times a year. The answer is obvious. The jobs will be automated.

Of course, the service sector will grow and absorb some of these displaced people, but not all of them. Even the service sector will see automation, even McDonalds and banks such as Barclays are looking to introduce automation into their day to day operations.

So we are presented with a problem. We will very soon have structural unemployment at levels higher than a capitalist system can tolerate. Indeed, its already beginning. The resulting economic inequity will cause political friction in the form of “class warfare,” as it is termed, this recent study by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission warns that the UK is on the brink of becoming a permanently divided society.

Shortly after the 2nd industrial revolution we saw automation of the agriculture, and further automation in the manufacturing industry. However, after some time, the service sector exploded from a meagre few percent to more than half of all employment. This created more jobs free of automation, and allowed capitalism to continue.

The changing structure of employment during economic development
The changing structure of employment during economic development

But are we going to see the same thing happen again, where are the jobs going to come from? Are they going to move back in to agricultural or manufacturing? One of the big arguments is that with this upcoming round of automation that there is going to be a huge gap in what type of jobs are going to be created.

Speculating which jobs are going to remain is going to take a whole lot of deeper thinking.

CGP Grey takes a harrowing look at the future of jobs in his video, Humans Need Not Apply. Discuss below.