This is what robots mean for the economy | World Economic Forum

In this fascinating WEF article, John Lewis explores the implications of automation and robotics on the economy, by taking a historical perspective.

Source: This is what robots mean for the economy | World Economic Forum

The argument is fascinating but masks the evidence of winners and losers from automation and robotics. For example, look at the the trend of US blue-collar and clerical jobs, which been replaced have either by machines or offshoring.

The challenge for young people is to develop niche skills in tomorrow’s premium markets. For example, in my own career, I saw that general managers and CFO‘s were becoming commoditized, so I took an applied doctorate, learned languages and worked in foreign markets, then tailored my market facing offering to niche skills in high demand.

Do you have any unusual insights into automation and robotics?

First unmanned factory takes shape in Dongguan City – People’s Daily Online

English: Logo of the People's Daily 中文: 人民日报题字

English: Logo of the People’s Daily 中文: 人民日报题字 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an amazing, must-read article published by China’s leading paper People’s Daily. Check it out!

via First unmanned factory takes shape in Dongguan City – People’s Daily Online.

It’s worth reading the article carefully and then reflecting on other industries around the world. Technology and especially robotics is likely to take an increasingly share of the unskilled jobs.

Personally, I still think that there are valuable tasks for those with less skills. Rather than pay unemployment benefits surely, surely it would make sense for governments to harness this resource effectively? Possible options include compulsory national service, social service helping the needy, or environmental service, cleaning up the rubbish blighting modern society. Mumbai provides an outstanding example in mobilizing the poor to collect and recycle rubbish.

There evidence is overwhelming, traditional jobs are disappearing, being replaced by technology or off shored where they can be performed more cheaply or more effectively.

Let me ask an open question:

How should responsible governments respond to the demise of traditional jobs?