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Who moved my Cheese?

James Huang | 2021.07.24

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. — Bill Gates

We’re at the start of an extremely bumpy road, my friends. As automation, AI, quantum computing, blockchain, and unaccountable multinational corporations invade the workforce and take over the global economy, we’re looking at a joblessness crisis on a scale never seen before in human history.  I don’t know the exact figures, but estimates suggest that automation could disrupt between 800 million and 2 billion jobs in the next ten years alone.

This will create a huge amount of economic and political upheaval — and how we deal with the joblessness crisis will go down in history as an inspiration to future generations or a disastrous cautionary tale.

Let’s dive into some of the jobs that are on the chopping block.

  • Drivers

  • Bankers - I meant those work in bank.

  • Low skill/ assembly manufacturing worker. (hey Google-X)

  • Accountants and bookkeepers (Tax preparers are especially doomed.)

  • Cashiers (All self-checkout kiosks...)

  • Travel agents (You can DIY your trip with AirBNB and booking.com?)

  • Paralegal and legal assistants (94% chance of automation)

  • Fast food cooks (robo-flippers)

  • Translators and Interpreters (hey Google)

  • Librarians (hey Google)

  • Booksellers (hey Amazon)

  • Newspaper reporters (probably the saddest loss on the list)

But new jobs will be created, right?

Sure. Maybe.

But in the vampire economy, those jobs will more likely be gigs — less secure, for less pay, with less say.  The jobs of the future will also require far more education. And if we know anything about the corporatist takeover of the post-secondary education system, we can predict that it’ll be the biggest debt trap ever created.  And when we add another 2+ billion people to the planet in our lifetime, will we really be able to provide everyone with full-time true-living-wage employment without collapsing the global environment?

I’m highly skeptical.

Also: Creating entirely new industries takes time. Unemployed people don’t have decades to wait around until new jobs appear, then go back to school in their forties or fifties to catch up.

Well… at least my job is safe!

Maybe you’re in one of the automation-safe zones: occupational therapists, doctors, surgeons, clergy, or programmer etc.

Don’t read this and think, “Whew, this doesn’t affect me.”

Because it does.

Big time.

First, joblessness will create massive competitive pressure on automation-safe jobs.  Second, estimates suggest half of all current work tasks could be automated. So even for people who don’t lose their jobs, underemployment will likely become chronic and systemic.

governments will either have to raise your taxes - they’ll have to steal it from you by printing more money, inflating prices, and weakening your purchasing power.

Even though job-killing automation only profits the richest of the richest, when it comes to the economic aftermath, either way, you will pay for it.

Who moved my Cheese?
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