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Prominent Scientists Attribute Job Loss To Automation, Not Foreigners

Stephen Hawking.Lwp Kommunikáció/Flickr

For decades, it was practically considered conventional wisdom that foreigners are the cause for so many jobs lost in industrialized countries. It didn’t matter if it was jobs getting shipped overseas or foreigners migrating to developed nations, it was their fault that employment was being taken away. However, this might not be the entire story as even prominent scientists are now saying that automation might play a bigger role in job loss than anything else.

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking wrote an op-ed recently for The Guardian about the current and future dangers facing the planet. Among the topics he brought up was how the rapid progress in Artificial Intelligence and automation has been particularly damaging for average working people.

“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,” Hawking notes in the piece.

The New York Times also published an article about how automation is the real danger when it came to long-term job effects because of how machines are becoming so smart, so fast. According to Harvard economist Lawrence Katz, the difference between the rate of job loss to foreigners and to machines is so big, it’s not even a competition.

Yet, this issue has not been brought up by any major candidate during the campaign trail. Even now, the main sticking point that politicians have when it comes to the rapidly diminishing workforce is that the jobs are currently in countries like China or India.

President-elect Donald Trump promised voters that he would bring back jobs to Americans, but in the long run, whatever jobs are returned would likely be replaced by machines anyway. With machines always being polite, more efficient, and infinitely more productive than their human counterparts, an automated future is inevitable. It’s already happening now.

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