Robots and Job Loss

The robots really are coming this time. Not science fiction anymore. Funny how something can be vastly entertaining on TV but just the opposite when it becomes reality. Be careful what you wish. Think carefully as you cheer on the future.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon is tied with Warren Buffet in net worth rankings. Mr. Bezos’ fortune is not tied exclusively to technology like say Microsoft. No, from day one, his enterprise was and is firmly rooted in physical goods. Industrial Era stuff. Like Walmart.

His success shows that Industrialization didn’t disappear, it simply became more enabled by technology. The hard lesson is rarely can you replace tangibles with intangibles. Over the long-term, the tangibles win. Manufactured goods are still the basis of economies and GDP.

Even when the robots grow to replace more people, their efforts will be trained primarily on industrial activity. The robots are coming. We all have about 4 to 6 years to prepare.

Another economic downturn is expected around the same time. Maybe it won’t happen. I hope not. Like many, I found it a brutal situation (with unexpected good life lessons) that some of us would hope to avoid again. The next recovery will likely see an intensified use of automation as a substitute for traditional labor.


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