With labour productivity rising only slowly, and computing power doubling, roughly, every two years, it is easy to see why businesses are eager to replace labour with technology. Perhaps ‘techno-worriers’ are on to something. Looking at the potential impact of robots and AI on employment, two key concerns arise – will unemployment skyrocket? And will income inequality be aggravated?
Let’s start with unemployment. No two experts can agree on how many people are at risk of losing their job to automation in the future, but some say it will be millions. Keynes’ work on technological unemployment is often hurled towards robot and AI enthusiasts. But proponents are quick to point out that this technology can solve some serious economic problems without having detrimental effects on employment.