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The big debate about the future of work, explained

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Why economists and futurists disagree about the future of the labor market. Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO Sources: https://economics.mit.edu/files/11563 https://www.aeaweb.org/full_issue.php?doi=10.1257/jep.29.3#page=33 http://voxeu.org/article/how-computer-automation-affects-occupations https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/future-work-lit-review-20150428.pdf https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/documents/Artificial-Intelligence-Automation-Economy.PDF https://www.vox.com/2015/7/27/9038829/automation-myth https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PWX7RPG/ref=dp-kindle-redirect https://www.amazon.com/Second-Machine-Age-Prosperity-Technologies-ebook/dp/B00D97HPQI/ref=sr_1_1 https://www.amazon.com/New-Division-Labor-Computers-Creating/dp/0691124027/ref=sr_1_1? https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf Clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTlV0Y5yAww https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_luhn7TLfWU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVlhMGQgDkY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCoFKUJ_8Yo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeyn9zzrC84 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSKi8HfcxEk /// Recent advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics have commentators worrying about the coming obsolescence of the human worker. Some in Silicon Valley are even calling for a basic minimum income provided by the government for everyone, under the assumption that work will become scarce. But many economists are skeptical of these claims, because the notion that the the economy offers a fixed amount of work has been debunked time and time again over the centuries and current economic data show no signs of a productivity boom. Fortunately, we don't need to divine the future of the labor market in order to prepare for it. /// Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app. Check out our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE Follow Vox on Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H Or on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o
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Text Comments (4793)
Charles Adair (1 hour ago)
5:37 My Google home was listening!!
musikSkool (1 day ago)
"I Robot 2" anybody?
musikSkool (1 day ago)
Someday someone will automate the job of finding and automating other jobs.
Eric crow (1 day ago)
Stop supporting China. Stop buying at Walmart!
Casius CBU (1 day ago)
maybe conduct debate under unique circumstances will produce better result? few years in biodome/ underwater cities stuff like that.
Evan Jennings (4 days ago)
rhetoric is garbage. start adding math to these presentations so you can see the actual effect historically of net loss or gain on gross number of jobs. You won't be surprised to find there has been a net loss of jobs. Oh and due consider: Unemployed plus "Hardcore Unemployed" & "Under employed" When looking for the missing numbers.
Ava Bay (5 days ago)
The economist in the video is stuck in Newton's law thereby offering a flawed assessment. To understand the science of productivity, watch Jeremy Rifkin's lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX3M8Ka9vUA A must if you want to really understand where we are heading.
jamal robinson (6 days ago)
Scientist stop now why are you doing this haven't you seen Terminator The Matrix for every movie about robots please stop
Andrew Laurent (6 days ago)
What you've failed to understand is that the reason progressive social economic policies became so vital was because of automation; it caused the Great Depression. You can say that the government didn't initially react well to the economic depression and that they initially made it worse, but it's beyond clear historically that displaced farm worker flooding cities devalued the price of labor so badly that it broke the economy; automation was the primary cause for the needed socialist federal reforms. This has been true ever since. The people concerned about automation, who see the growing exponential capacity of technology to displace job, are just saying that the current left-wing policies don't go far enough. I also don't deny that new jobs are created and some prices deflate as we find more efficient ways to do other things, and I'm not saying that automation should be discouraged, I'd just like to address that a big chunk of the savings from automation goes to the innovators who often hoard the money. Automation accelerates income inequality in this way and is the reason we need redistribution. Income inequality then goes on to contribute to price inflation, as companies find their optimal price point higher as they chase the larger spenders in some markets. I'm surprised these economists act like decreased costs reduce prices when prices are independent of costs. The first to automate in a market gets to reap all the rewards until competition comes in to drive down the price... if it comes at all... some forms of automation can be patented and if that happens in a vital market with inelastic demand then the price can drastically inflate instead of deflate. Automation naturally produces oligarchies and we're obviously not doing enough to protect about price fixing or price gouging of necessities like healthcare. There are countless examples of how automation causes the need for progressive policy. It's no wonder that Democrats can't get voters to understand the need for their policies when they don't understand it themselves. We need to treat the root cause of the problem that creates the need these policies, instead of just reacting to the economy as it fluctuates.
Monty Datta (7 days ago)
This is why we need Andrew Yang. YANG 2020
KWANGJIN CHAI (7 days ago)
History till now you are talking about robots which cannot perform most of human jobs.The robots of the future are ones which are more inteligent than humans and can do most human physical acts better.Think harder. This time it might not be history repeating itselfDid history repeat itself when the Europeons arrived for the Aborigins or Native Americans in Dominica?
CPT Fields (8 days ago)
Machines raise the lowest common denominator for what a person needs to get a job. It forces people to become better. And why become better when you can rage against the machine?
What about the people who make these robots.
Imed Khochtali (11 days ago)
I'll place my bet along side elon's
nicholas dean (11 days ago)
There is still elevator people in really nice places 2:50
potato psoas (12 days ago)
Until robots can do literally everything humans can do then we have nothing to worry about. But once they become human then they will takeover.
Ezra Evans (12 days ago)
basically, you better be happy working for amazon or in a call centre.
wolf rain88 (12 days ago)
the reason this time is different is artificial intelligence can and will replace humans on a far faster scale than before and lets not forget that artificial intelligence has the potential to do a variety of things same as humans like moving A to B and c to d and e to f over the next 20 years it is obvious artificial intelligence programs could even build a factory where humans are mostly not needed what we will do when all the new opportunities are taken because the artificial intelligence program can take all the sum of human knowledge and build a factory that can make your new product run with almost nothing but robots you still have to build it which will likely take a few human helping you but to run it will take very little that means work is hitting its end sooner rather than later it may take 30 years for it all to happen but i have no doubt it's going to happen
iamjohnporter67 (13 days ago)
This is really scary going into the 2020s because the robots are starting to become more noticeable. I've seen then being used at Amazon and in Car Factories. So then what is going to happen to humans looking for jobs. Like how will we look for them in the future if Robots replace us?
And then I get an ad about robotics...
MultiMrdare (13 days ago)
These damn robots coming over here taking our jobs
Adam Geringer (14 days ago)
The jobs that are lost are always the middle class pay-your-mortgage jobs and the new jobs are struggle-to-pay-rent jobs.
Tien Doan (7 days ago)
That's why we need automation in the housing market. The cost of building house correctly, especially houses near ocean shores, is outrageously high.
burnt f1ames (15 days ago)
marx would like this
Black Alende (17 days ago)
5:38 now lets give that task to a non-american english speaker
Darcy Munro (19 days ago)
Greed worshipping parasites brainwashing the people to accept slavery or starve as America slide into the next debt depression the worst ever where there is no way to get out without mass reducing the population.
Anani (21 days ago)
GDI my google home responded.
Music Lover (21 days ago)
Artists for the Freedom Dividend! #HumanityFirst
Javier Zapata (21 days ago)
In the past, automation replaced slow skill work that was easily repeatable. Now A.I. is actually replacing a human and/or brain. It can think and learn. That is a HUGE difference.
Emanuel Brown (23 days ago)
Gil Pl (23 days ago)
Sorry but she's so hot 😍
crazieeez (24 days ago)
Automation already affected us, look at the numbers. More than a quarter of the adult population are not working. 99M adults age 18 and over not working  53M adults age 18 to 65 not working 63% labor participation rate 262M adults age 18 and over 163M adults working age 18 and over (labor force)
destiny rinker (28 days ago)
Good thing I dance and do art.
PurpleGhost (28 days ago)
AKA "Bullsh*t jobs will fill the gaps!" Heck that! We need a redistribution of the wealth, and new economic system.
trollbreeder (28 days ago)
What's sad is that the margin between middle class and low class is shorter than the margin between middle class and high class.
Travis Holland (29 days ago)
I watched this on my fire stick and my google home answered your question mod video and cited a different study. Human level speech recognition is a myth. Never gonna happen.
Vinícius Peluqui (29 days ago)
I don't think so. The thing is employers need people to buy stuff. If there's mass unemployment, then no one can buy anything. There may be an economic crisis, but I think a solution will be found
Andrew Thompson (30 days ago)
I will eat my hat the day economists predict any future events accurately. Don't worry infinate exponential growth will work. Ya right. This time is different. Yanggang2020
Xastur Speaks (30 days ago)
Journalists that is great news 4:02 you'll lose your job and Learn to Code, or sell hot dogs or clean toilets or whatever it is you end up doing, as y our job is really not essential like YOU think it is, but you'll find work.
Tristan Möller (1 month ago)
Anyone has a good book from a (known) scholar to offer arguing that robots won’t take our jobs? The two in this video seemed liked they argued for the other future. I’ll read them, I just want another input so it’s not too onesided.
Deno Moto (1 month ago)
This is a lie. There is a huge difference between a concrete mixer and a humanoid robot that can build other humanoid robots. We are a long way off but a single robot will be capable of doing all tasks better than a human. You will literally be able to shove it in your trunk and drive between locations and have in perform any task. They are saying that as production rises so does consumption which is true in a sense. The problem here is that for the last 20 years people have been battling this consumer culture because of its cultural and environmental effects and for good reason. Consuming even more than we do now in order to keep people employed is a bad idea, its almost laughable. Also the gap of services that can only be provided by humans in shrinking. Its not that we are losing a 100 million jobs here and 10 million there and replacing them with something else. Its that the whole notion of work and a job is threatened. I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't want to be forced to become a Masseuse catering exclusively to clients that have robot phobia. That's what it comes down do. Human interaction is what people will be paying more for which sounds really dysfunctional.
t z (1 month ago)
Capitalism’s ability to create bullshit jobs cannot be underestimated
Justin Kenward (1 month ago)
5:26 Triggered my Google Home ! 😝
none given (1 month ago)
Capitalism will always find a way of creating bullshit jobs to fill voids.
Carofdoom1126 (1 month ago)
The big change that this argument leaves out, is that software never threatened jobs before. Software adapts, changes, and innovates at a vastly faster rate than hardware and engineering changes of the past did. Technological job displacements were discrete and focused. Longshoremen replaced by one certain technology, cement mixers replaced by a discrete technology. Software, specifically powerful software, combined with network innovations and hardware innovations mean that any jobs that aren't largely creative are under threat. 10% of Americans work in transportation based on labor market projections. Transportation is automatable today. Its not that the technology isn't there - it is, its just not widespread yet - it will be. Taxi/driveshare drives, truckers, gas station attendants (sorry NJ), bus drivers - not just unemployed, but unemployable. Most factory workers doing menial work, unemployed. Bank tellers, baristas, even waitstaff, unemployed. We are looking at software displacing nearly 30% of the workforce, all at once, not a little bit there, a little bit here. This will impact our society. We've seen automation before, we haven't seen genralized automation before. We have never seen automation try to displace millions of people, all at once before. Computers are more reliable, cheaper, and better at humans at most human jobs. This is going to be the crisis of our time - and anyone that isn't worried, should be. Jobs will run out, and our society isn't going to have an answer. We will see rises in populism, nationalism, unemployment, poverty, and instability unless we are prepared. And the software revolution has created new jobs, yes. But not as many as it would seem. Tech firms do not need millions of software engineers, they can maintain efficiently with a relatively small employee base. Software can self mantain, software can self improve.
we haven't even scratched the surface of what technology can do
Randy Peterson (1 month ago)
This video set off my google assistant
Francisco Grosso (1 month ago)
1:18 they aren't worried that this scare happened before.....the great depression, when unemployment shot through the roof? I feel economists tend to be way too optimistic, it's almost part of the job description
Nesiah Coward (1 month ago)
So let's say robots start to develop feelings, emotions, and are able to comprehend the world around them, and we continue to force them to work. Would that be considered slavery? And what if a whole new American style civil war breaks out on the discussion of slavery, but on a world scale. What would we do then. Because for the longest time people believed that people of colour had no emotion and continued to force them into these horrible conditions. So if robots really do have emotions should they be set free to do their own thing or continued to be held captive to do our jobs. Debate in the replies \/
Christophe Abiel (1 month ago)
All will be hate.
brandon mendez (1 month ago)
The video made my google home answer a question lol
A Half Assed Username (1 month ago)
Why is Joss so perfect. Her face just works.
Renni Jo (1 month ago)
I don't think the problem is robots taking jobs, I think the problem is excess. You're pushing more product quicker and cheaper. People tend to view cheaper products as less valuable and more disposable. More waste, more consumption, more waste, more consumption. If we aren't regulating production and use of resources, are we not just accelerating climate change? Are we devalueing resources and produce? If we're advancing in green technology and increasing the longevity or reusability of items, then it's a good thing. If we're just burning up resources and making rich people richer and helping them expand their monopoly, then it's probably not a good idea.
Z (1 month ago)
GM is laying off 14k x 7k = 121k jobs are going away soon. Again another dumb broad giving her opinion on technology. Psk.
Ratchet Going Commando (1 month ago)
When will people realize that this is not anything new! Haven’t people played against an AI in hard difficulty mode in a competitive video game, like a fighting game or a racing game?! It’s impossible to beat AI. AI is superior to humans in terms of cognition.
Sata Con (1 month ago)
When she said ok Google it paused my video and assistant popped up lol
Luis Riesco (1 month ago)
Good work done with this video, those who see automation causing the lost of jobs fail to study economic history
Chris Klausner (1 month ago)
Vox are globalists
Daniel Albertson (1 month ago)
Lost gas pumpers LOL
davisrs92 (1 month ago)
Well thought out presentation with opposing views and intelligent commentary backed with statistics and research. Everything I hoped an educational video would be that has the hope of sparking peoples right to make their own decision on the topic.
chuck woolry (1 month ago)
Boeing's Max 8's are highly automated..... ahem.
VFM Tech (1 month ago)
@5:41 my google home narrated the answer too
Khalid M (1 month ago)
People still need to maintain these technologies, society will shift to a technocratic model, only the people incapable of adapting due to cognitive restraints will suffer from this.
chuck woolry (1 month ago)
Learn to code, learn to code, learn to code, all will be ok, take your pills, learn to code...... etc etc etc
Random Guy (1 month ago)
Lol yang is wrong
waail boubekri (1 month ago)
Imagine taxis in 20 years they will be super cheap!! Because you wont have to pay a salary to the taximan
Johan Retters (2 days ago)
You are a idiot
polix 3208 (3 days ago)
+ShtiffleSauce true if so many people lost their jobs by robots like cashiers drivers factory workers waiters
ShtiffleSauce (1 month ago)
And imagine not having them money to pay because your job got replaced by a robot
Joseph Delahunty (1 month ago)
They only way robots could steal all jobs would be if they were smarter and more creative than any human. If that happens, than they could probably solve this problem for us.
James The Wolf (1 month ago)
Will robots replace all of the clowns at Vox?
chuck woolry (1 month ago)
They can learn to code like the others, don't worry.
quantum tunneling (1 month ago)
She looks like a gorgeous AI. Can I get one of her?
Error Loading Page (1 month ago)
There’s a Kurzgesagt video in there
Koolaid Man (1 month ago)
Yeah they may take our jobs, but if money makes a person work, then why would a robot need money?
12squared Network (1 month ago)
A.I. is the x factor that makes this time different from the rest. When computers can begin to make calcuated and reasoned decisions that are comparable to that of humans that is when the real disruption begins. General and consequently, Superintelligent A.I is inevitable and that is when the paradigm shift will take place. The first industry to go is transportation, I believe that is where it will be the most apparent.
David Cascadian (1 month ago)
The vast majority of American jobs are in Retail, Sales, Shipping and Transportation. All of these jobs are very vulnerable to automation. The thing that is being missed is that never before has the majority of American jobs been at risk to automation at the same time. This is a different situation than what has occurred before.
Tony Ravioli (1 month ago)
Andrew yang is trying to adopt policies for this changing world in the face of technology. He's running as a presidential candidate in 2020.
EC LOGS (1 month ago)
Detroit become poor, oh wait
Incen Indigo (1 month ago)
its funny how people worry about that there will be no more job if automation happen? people we still not type 1 civilization we have long way to go to achieve type 3 civilization , believe me there is alot of work to do to achieve it and we need alot of automation to achieve it we need alot more people doing research for the new technology to achieve it
windsweptspy (1 month ago)
This doesn't address the educational/training level the average worker will need to function in these 'new' jobs. How much will society have to change or sacrifice in an attempt to keep up with automation?
youxkio (1 month ago)
Wow, this woman is so beautiful.
Jay Melendez (1 month ago)
Robots and artificial intelligence is gonna take over. Have you seen all the commercials incorporated with robots lately?
Damaged Cortex (1 month ago)
Just abolish capitalism
Red Pilled Dominican (1 month ago)
I recently lost my job cause of these suckers.
freemanos (1 month ago)
5:13 thats I-280N in San Mateo, CA. Beautiful scenic highway.
Jordan Simerly (1 month ago)
Anyone else feeling that Hotline Miami beat at the 5:30 mark?
zzadin041 (1 month ago)
0:00 silly ASIMO ! Don't look at the crowd when going up stairs!
MrDMan (1 month ago)
If automation is known to help humanity progress forward why are people targeting it? Has no one asked why the government or companies aren't providing the necessary programs to help with transitioning? If you know that a system is ineffective in helping prepare for the future, why aren't you targeting to change that???
They can take the jobs, and then the government can give a UBI, universal basic income... I can just hear socialists cheering
Jason Wilkins (1 month ago)
Hey look at cgp Grey
Brian The Science Show (1 month ago)
You can’t compare the 1920s to the 2020s. Technology growth is exponential, not linear.
Stevie Gee (1 month ago)
She sounds just like this chick in my science class. The money will need to support a standard minimum national income for everyone. In other words we’re going to become a socialist society by our own design. The question is how willing the wealthy will be to give it up.
Deebo (2 months ago)
I have a proverb: There is no such thing as unemployable, and it never will be.
Robot Jack (2 months ago)
Quit destroying my dreams! I don't want a job anymore, I don't want anyone to have to work if they don't to, ever. I want, and I think there are many other people who want. to spend their days doing, not nothing, but productive things that we want to do—and that I believe would be very beneficial to society if we were able to do them.
Vladymyr Tymoshenko (2 months ago)
It's disturbing when economists judge so superficially about high technologies. Don't they understand that "driving in traffic" could become an utterly useless skill in the world of more optimized and efficient transport? There are examples even now. I want to focus on two points that economists miss that I find relevant. 1. Pace. New technology could spread all over the world in a year. If it beneficially replaces some people's jobs, those people need to get a new profession to keep earning their living. It could take several years. Also, it could diminish purchasing ability firsthand instead of increasing it. In a situation when people face difficulties with finding a job, they buy fewer things that aren't essential. 2. Limits. Human's mental and physical abilities are limited, for now. Yuval Harari has a point, people can actually become unemployable. A limited list of jobs performed only by humans will become shorter, while new technologies to replace human labor develop. At the same time, the effect of "new jobs" from expansion and savings also has limits. The industry wouldn't expand if there is no such demand, not enough purchasing power to satisfy the manufacturer. Let's be honest, nobody is going to slow down economic growth and technological progress to avoid making difficulties for average people. It doesn't even sound reasonable. Though in a world where some are starving and others struggle with obesity, millions of people don't even get a basic education, this thought is justified to be frightening.
Matta's Account (2 months ago)
0:33 cgp grey?!
D Walker (2 months ago)
Love the thoughtful perspectives presented by VOX
ahri (2 months ago)
Basically, if you're smart and easily adapt you'll come out better in the long run. If you don't educate yourself and adapt, you'll be left behind without a job.
Emily Moss (2 months ago)
It's not just a matter of vanishing jobs. It's a matter of diminishing wages as human labor gets cheaper.
Emperor Palpatine (2 months ago)
Technology Is going to create Karl Marx dream, AI does all the work and humans can enjoy life! What is wrong with that? Universal basic income + AI = paradise. We can make our world easy, but religion has made us feel we have to work, we are the only species that works as we do... not so intelligent.
Guardian of Fire (2 months ago)
Subsistence living is a possible job to return too if you can't afford to buy things produced by corporations.
zdes nikovo (2 months ago)
I think the economist lady lost the argument in a big way. Jobs are fast becoming a thing of the past, like being hunter-gatherers.
Stndsure (2 months ago)
This is pro-capitalist nonsense - we are at the limits of earth carrying capacity - growth cannot be the sole response to the future. The seas are rising guys!
Tearle Lee (2 months ago)
I wish more people would recognize the only path forward is a transition to a shared/minimal labor global society where AI systems perform the majority of work, farming (vertical), transportation (automated pods), construction (3D), apply the scientific method to resolve conflicting ideas. AI systems less advanced than AIG could literally run 24/7 allowing people to live fruitful lives. If the Gates foundation aim is for the wealthy to donate vast sums of wealth it should all benefit this transition.
Lambda Frog (2 months ago)
Hello from 2019, nothing happened at all.

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