WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Brave new world of robotic technology: Job killer or creator of unimaginable new jobs?

Pew Research/Elon University surveyed the experts about the technological future, and found respondents all over the map - but many negative - on whether the coming automated world would ultimately kill jobs, or create them. Some respondents thought technological advances would only exacerbate income inequality. Or, as in the past, perhaps this brave new world may nearly kill certain lines of work, but create entirely new jobs and professions.

Canada's GLOBE & MAIL focused on robotic technology's effect on transportation jobs...


Posted at 8:50am on August 7, 2014 by Allan Loudell

<- Back to all Allan Loudell posts

Comments on this post:

Thu, Aug 7, 2014 10:09am
Technology (as with all tools) can be used for good, not-so-good or evil..just today Pope Francis told Catholic youths to put down their smart phones, get off the internet and get involved in their neighborhoods and help others.

"Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions."~Pope Francis

Activities cited by the Pope as futile were: "chatting on the Internet or with smartphones, watching TV soap operas, and (using) the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, but distract attention away from what is really important."

On the flip-side, technological advances have also greatly improved many things in life...as old jobs disappear due to new tech hopefully new jobs will arise...time will tell.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Aug 7, 2014 10:46am
EarlGrey: Well said.

This isn't new. New technology has affected the work place for years. Radio in the 1930's and 40's was a mostly live production including commercials. They'd use transcriptions large records 78rpms, but mostly live so yes live musicians and singers, announcers, sound effects folks for the dramas and comedies. The 1950's came and tape recording. This put a lot of radio musicians, singers, voice folks, etc, out of work as stations could record spots on tape, same with shows for rebroadcasting later, etc. The single track cart [cousin to the 8 track] was a standard for commercials, PSA's, short vinettes, etc. Today with computers and their automated features many radio stations have a skeleton crew as the actual "radio station" is a computer in a closet that recieves programming from a satellite, no live programming at all. Any local stuff gets prerecorded by someone possibly at a sister station in another city, and sent via computer to that station for broadcast later.

Even WDEL does this during their off hours. It saves money on salaries, which allows them to have a larger news staff, so in one sense job loss, but in another sense job creation.

The point though is the technology keeps improving and does change how things get done. We used to only be able to listen to WDEL on an AM radio, but today, still can use the AM radio with its static, etc, and now even FM [for WSTW-HD-3 simulcast of WDEL if you have an HD radio]. We can also hear WDEL ANYWHERE in the world using a computer or anI-pod, etc. So in one sense the technology eliminated jobs that WDEL used to have back when Mr. Goodwill first started his show on WDEL back in the 1940's [my mom used to love his show], but has added other jobs as someone is keeping the online broadcast up and running [it gets different commercials, so WDEL is selling more spots some for radio, others for the online broadcast]. So someone is loading those spots into the computer system so when I'm listening to Al Missetti at work I'm hearing the correct commercials, etc. When Amy Cherry broke that story last week, she had I believe Chris Carl along as her cameraman. So now WDEL can even get shown on Philly TV if the story is picked up by one of those stations WDEL partners with. So 2014 WDEL is very different from the 1950's and 60's WDEL I grew up with. Most of that is due to technology and how it changed how radio is done.

That's just one example.

Thu, Aug 7, 2014 6:56pm
Every time something new is invented, somebody always cries foul that it's gonna cost jobs. In most cases, it has created jobs because you gotta have somebody to work on the new technology when it breaks down.

Nothing new here. The workforce was supposed to have become extinct when the computer was invented.

Thu, Aug 7, 2014 7:10pm
That this technology will affect the levels of employment is already accepted. The technology can do so much. Today, any person anywhere in the world, with a standard house utility, get the answer to any question they might possibly have.

That is amazing. And a game changer. Nations which once had a lock on processing iron ore, don't. It will be raw materials now which will separate the haves from the have nots,(not information)and that puts China, which owns 98% of the rare earth minerals, in a rather good starting spot.

The reason your phone's batteries last so long is due to one of the rare earth minerals. If battery cars become common, much more of that material will need to be mined.

To cut to the chase, what are we going to do with all those people replaced by machines? Forced labor? That sets up new possibilities. It brings back whispers of communism...

The answer instead, will be to expand government wide enough to employ these extra people... It will become in the future, a government's duty to make sure all its workable citizens are employed. Otherwise someone new gets put in.

Right now, we are celebrating that today's job market is growing by 200,000 a month. Yet there are 9.7 million still unemployed (U6)... Even at this great rate (200,000 per month) they won't all be working except in 4 years... and we have to add all those new young people entering the work force every year..

Depending only on the private sector, will doom us. Numbers say it, neutral of political persuasion.

Therefore we need another entity to begin hiring. Something might be invented in the future (war) but baring that, right now, we do have governments across this nation, running on empty. Old positions, like Wilmington's Fire Department, lying vacant. Maybe someday... As of 2012 there were 22,000,000 state, local, and government employees. If we just nominally raised the Federal employment to the levels at the end of Pizza's favorite Ronald Reagan's term, we'd employee 800,000 of those unemployed right now....


How to pay for it? The obvious answer is to go after that windfall in profits that are being made from not employing people... Tax them and use that to employ people...

They still will make enough money (just tax the excess), more people are put to work, purchasing and consumer confidence rise, the rich get richer, some of that excess goes back into hiring more people, who repeat that process, and the richer get richer, and some of that excess goes back into the economy to hire even more people...

Ronald Reagan tore the heart out of the American economy. Bill Clinton put it back. George W. Bush ripped it out again. And until corporations pay the same tax rates as people for their incomes, the problem of joblessness though moving in a positive direction, will always move too slow.

Fri, Aug 8, 2014 12:37am
Change of topic. From inside Kurdistan, I just heard the Kurds have switched from only fighting defensively to declaring war. Yesterday Turkish planes were bombing ahead of attacking Kurds.. (whoever saw that coming?)... The Kurds have no choice and are working with the central Iraqi government to coordinate attacks. There is a dam being fought over, which would give the enemy control over 1/3 of Iraq's electricity. That is raging now. The dam incidentally is rated the most likely to fail in the world, and would wash out Mosul and flood Baghdad if it were to rupture. The Syrian women are making ground in their attack. The paradox is rather bewildering. Assad's Syria, secular Turkey, The Kurds, The Iraqis, The Shiites, the minority religions in Iraq, are all united against this terrible enemy. Listening to reports it reminds me of Attila the Hun. Ironically it could be that this group is the answer to everyone's prayer for all those wanting the MidEast to settle down in a lasting peace... However, Saddam's old guard long underground, and the Sunni terrorists, have joined forces with ISIS. Looks like another civil war based off the battle of Karbala.. With the Saudi's supplying the money to the attackers. The deciding factor will be the atrocities being committed by the attackers, which will bring the world against them. As for those on the mountain, American media is slow, but I've heard the Kurds reached them and supplies are on the way. Two planes of munitions landed and unloaded yesterday so the CIA is on top of things.

Fri, Aug 8, 2014 9:48am
I see this morning that Obama confirmed it.

Sat, Aug 9, 2014 1:06pm
To answer Kavips' advocacy of more federal employment, let me just say the Post Office is the only company on the planet that's going broke and still hiring.

Jobs, anybody?

Sat, Aug 9, 2014 7:31pm
Pizza, you know why it is going broke. Your Republican friends fixed it so it would with that Pension deal....

Add your comment:
Attention: In an attempt to promote a level of civility and personal responsibility in blog discussions, we now require you to be a member of the WDEL Members Only Group in order to post a comment. Your Members Only Group username and password are required to process your post.

You can join the WDEL Members Only Group for free by clicking here.
If you are already a member but have forgotten your username or password, please click here.

Please register your post with your WDEL Members Only Group username and password below.

Copyright © 2014, Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.   Terms of Use.
WDEL Statement of Equal Employment Opportunity and Outreach