Technological innovations have been throwing people out of jobs for centuries. But they eventually created more work, and greater wealth, than they destroyed. Ford, the author and software engineer, thinks there is reason to believe that this time will be different. He sees virtually no end to the inroads of computers into the workplace. Eventually, he says, software will threaten the livelihoods of doctors, lawyers and other highly skilled professionals....Peter Lindert, an economist at the University of California, Davis, says the computer is more destructive than innovations in the Industrial Revolution because the pace at which it is upending industries makes it hard for people to adapt.Occupations that provided middle-class lifestyles for generations can disappear in a few years. Utility meter readers are just one example. As power companies began installing so-called smart readers outside homes, the number of meter readers in the U.S. plunged from 56,000 in 2001 to 36,000 in 2010, according to the Labor Department.In 10 years? That number is expected to be zero.When will the right stop blaming individuals for losing their jobs and not finding new ones?Personally speaking, I was so happy when my son became a teacher--secure employment, I thought, especially in science. How long before online lessons replace public school teachers? DS is 33, not sure there are 25 years left in his profession :-( His GF is a phys ed teacher, a safer position, I suppose. DD is a social science researcher--I guess the biggest worry is no $$ to pay for research. DSIL is a cancer researcher. Will automation be able to come up with theories to test, design the experiments, and perform them? That seems a longer way off.These days, I encourage young people to go into hands-on health (dentistry, ultrasound and other machine technicians, phlebotomy). Or trades like plumbing, HVAC, electrical work, solar panel installation, energy auditing. Even with slowed-down construction, older homes & apartments need maintenance, repair and updating. But not everyone can do those hands-on professions...I, for example, do not have steady hands or a radiant smile/bedside manner. I think I did the only job I could be good at (technical writing/editing). sigh.
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