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The Future of Work

In His Talk on Automation, David Autor Shows the Value of Human Expertise

— February 8, 2017 — Keynote Trends
David Autor, an economist and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, considers what the workforce will look like as technology continues to progress in his talk on automation.

Throughout history, human labor has been simplified tremendously with the help of technology, which avoids the issues that are often caused by human error or inefficiency. Due to this, many wonder why there are still so many jobs around, with humans still holding positions like bank tellers and other digitally replaceable positions.

As David Autor explains in his talk on automation, the number of jobs have only gone up over the years. He delves into this by extrapolating on his example of the bank teller. When ATMs first arrived, they lessened the need for bank tellers, however they also made it cheaper for new branches to be opened, resulting in more jobs that require human assistance. Rather than working as traditional bank tellers however, the role of these individuals has become more cognitively demanding, leading to an increase in their economic value.

Although the future of work seems bleak to those who believe that technology will simply replace them, David Autor offers an optimistic point of view, as he shows that human value can't be dismissed. In short, technology is more likely to increase the number of jobs and the importance of human expertise and creativity.