Stop worrying and let the machines take our jobs – report

Techies safe, but you may have to endure a robot co-worker


So, robots are coming to take your jobs after all* but techies shouldn't be scared, not in the slightest.

This is the opinion of the Centre for Policy Studies, which today released the paper Why Britain Needs More Robots, a report that claims Britain doesn't have enough automatons in its workplaces yet – at least not of the mechanical kind.

But even as those dead-eyed bastards proliferate, the flesh-and-bone workers among us will still be in a good spot, author Daniel Mahoney said.

In some cases, you might get to keep your job, either with a robot to help you, or just as you have always worked because your employer has decided the cost is not worth it.

If your job was "displaced", the report continued, current patterns show that this was likely to happen anyway, as it is a common fate already for mid-level skilled jobs in many advanced economies

Fortunately, there is a steady stream of new jobs made available by changing technology. As long as current and future workers are trained correctly with the right skills, the report can't see a downside to letting the machines clock in and get to work.

Either way, you should be jealous of Germany, which has more than four times as many robot workers as the Brits do (300 per 10,000 employees versus 71 per 10,000). Mahoney said that Britain puts its money into labour over capital investment, but by changing tack and investing in new tech, the nation would be in a position to benefit greatly.

Perhaps at the request of the robots themselves, Mahoney also suggests that ideas of taxing the machines or keeping them away from existing manufacturing jobs are bad ones, which will prohibit growth and entrench existing economic problems.

The report also considers universal basic income to be unsuitable. Although it wouldn't affect its beloved robots, its viability as a solution for inequality is not only unnecessary according to recent trends showing a growth in equality, but would require large tax hikes, which tend to be unpopular.

Speaking to The Register about how this robotic future might change the world of tech, Mahoney said: "At least in the short-to-medium term, those in the tech sector are unlikely to be 'at risk' from mechanisation. I suspect that 'job churn' in the tech sector will come well after many other industries.

"High-tech jobs have a positive impact on the creation of jobs in low-tech areas. While tech jobs may not directly replace jobs lost elsewhere, the indirect jobs created will likely make up the shortfall in the longer term." ®

Botnote

*Folk seem torn as to whether robots spell certain doom for humanity or will usher us into high-tech utopia.

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