Continuing the theme of deep but under discussed reasons for our economic woes that got started with yesterday’s post on suburbia as Ponzi scheme , how about the notion that our jobs have disappeared into a “second economy” that’s entirely automated by computers?
In one sense this isn’t a new claim. We’ve written before about robots stealing our jobs and the way tech is replacing more and more human workers without appearing to create enough new jobs. What is fresh about this claim is it’s tone — rather than seeming like a prospect for the distant future sprung from the overheated mind of a robo-obsessed technologist, the latest version of the ‘tech is taking our jobs’ argument is to be found in the respected, business-focused pages of the McKinsey Quarterly (free registration required to view).
The essay, written by W. Brian Arthur , a visiting researcher with the Intelligent System Lab at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute , isn’t interested in a distant Jetsons-like future full of bi-pedal robots but rather the consequences of changes nearly everyone accepts are already underway. Arthur writes:
Do you find the prospect of a silently growing “second economy” frightening or simply a fact of life we’re bound to adjust to?