David Autor : Why are there still so many jobs?

Guest Blogger

Listened to an interesting TED Talk recently which has been topical and thought worthwhile to share. David Autor’s talk entitled “Will automation take away all our jobs?”, discusses the paradox of machines and computers being created to do human jobs. However it is surprising the proportion of adults in the workforce in the US has consistently increased for the past 125 years. Obviously this gives rise to the question, why hasn’t human labour become redundant and why aren’t our skills obsolete? To find out more simply click on the link below


It is interesting in the way things have changed. We used to hand build cars but now a computer does this for us. So now we have started concentrating on other things.

I believe a famous quote from Henry Ford was; ‘you can have any colour as long as it is black.’ By machines streamlining the process we now have black, white, red, blue and even ‘light my fire orange’. I am sure it was not the machine asking whether we should have different colours to choose from, but our initiative and desire to want more. As we want more this creates opportunities. Televisions a century ago weren’t thought of, but now nearly every home has one or even maybe two. Someone has come up with the concept of the television, then we have had to build the factory to manufacture them, warehouses have been built and managed to store them, they have to be delivered and it goes on. We have 3D, curved screens, people play games on them hooked into the internet,  you even have headsets now that are virtual reality. So through automation comes further opportunity to expand and do more.

David Autor also discusses the O-Ring effect. As machines take on some of the tasks it makes our other roles more important. David Autor discusses the ATM and how the role of the teller has changed, in the accounting profession we have programs that calculates the gross profit margin, but like a teller, it is important that we can interpret and communicate this in a language that each individual client understands.

As we go forward we will always want more and want it done better. Therefore there will always be an opportunity for us to expand our employment, it may just not be in the same roles.