You may have heard of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. Word is they’re pretty smart dudes. So it would probably be prudent to heed a warning they just issued simply stating that robots are taking our jobs and we need to do something about it.
And it looks like Mark Cuban got the message.
Automation is going to cause unemployment and we need to prepare for it. https://t.co/YEp5txG9aP— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) February 20, 2017
The tweet links to a post titled “A warning from Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking”. The post is written by Quincy Larson, a teacher at freeCodeCamp, a free service that teaches people how to code (which is pretty awesome). His story leads with this somewhat terrifying quote from Stephen Hawking:
“The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”
So, in short, one of the smartest people to have ever lived is telling us that every-day labor jobs are about to disappear at an accelerated rate, leaving only the high-paid executives behind.
Larson continues with what Elon Musk had to say, when he spoke to the World Government Summit in Dubai:
“What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better [than a human]. These are not things that I wish will happen. These are simply things that I think probably will happen.”
If you’re not freaked out yet, Larson drives the point home with what Bill Gates has recently said about our need to tax robot workers:
“You cross the threshold of job-replacement of certain activities all sort of at once. So, you know, warehouse work, driving, room cleanup, there’s quite a few things that are meaningful job categories that, certainly in the next 20 years [will go away].”
Larson then goes on to quantify the numbers of people whose careers are in the cross-hairs of automation, including 14 million restaurant workers, 8 million retail salespeople, 1 million truck drivers, 600,000 Uber drivers, 181,000 taxi drivers, 168,000 transit bus drivers and 505,000 school bus drivers. That’s more than the entire population of Tokyo.
As for what you can do about it, Larson offers up a few things. First, he suggests we educate ourselves on this topic. Once you know what you’re talking about, he suggests, talk to your friends and family so they’re aware of where we’re heading. Then you should contact your representatives and ask them what they’re planning to do about all the job losses and unemployment as a result of robots and automation.
Or, you know, you could do nothing and be unemployed eventually, which sounds kind of awful.