Within 20 years, “software substitution” will dramatically reduce the demand for many types jobs, Bill Gates said Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute. It’s a gloomy prediction that he says many people, including governments, aren’t prepared for.
Make no mistake, “software substitution” is a fancy way of saying software automation — as in “bots” and whatnot. Many of the jobs that could be eliminated are lower skill occupations.
“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing,” Gates said. “Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. … 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”
The billionaire also provided some common sense ways to get out ahead of the coming problem.
Firstly, he said, the tax codes need to be updated to encourage companies to hire employees. He suggested possibly doing away with income and payroll taxes entirely.
He's been saying that from day one, that computers will reduce the number of jobs, not increase them.
I have witnessed this transformation myself, and have even been part of it by writing automation code for a semiconductor wafer manufacturing plant in the U.S. and China. When it first started, people moved the wafers around, now it's all automatic and done on overhead rails and automatic wafer feeders. Automation also reduces human error. The lesson to be learned? Work hard, study, make yourself a better person and you won't be eliminated by the machines because you are the master of the machines. Don't blame technology because you were lazy and expected a government check in the mail.
"Firstly, he said, the tax codes need to be updated to encourage companies to hire employees. He suggested possibly doing away with income and payroll taxes entirely."
Now you're talking sense.
"He suggested possibly doing away with income and payroll taxes entirely."
What many patriots have been saying for a lot longer than Gates. A few years ago he and other Establishment figures lobbied Congress to increase the number of H1B visas so cheap foreign labor could knock Americans out of jobs right here on US soil because, as he said, "those newcomers are just as patriotic and they pay their taxes!"
Maybe soon it be the era of superhuman: if you intelligent, creative, hard-working and can engage in long-term gratification then you'll be very successful in the future. On the other hand, people who have nothing much going for them other than they want a "job with steady pay" will be all but unemployable. At this point the new rich can scratch their heads as to what to do with legion of dullards – welfare payments in exchange for sterilisation?
welfare in exchange for sterilization actually is not a bad idea-really think about it for a moment-the first and second generations are going to be a financial millstone-after that the gene pool starts looking a whole lot better!
My first job out of College could be eighty percent automated today. I've thought of doing it just to prove the point to myself.
Guess that some of us will have to work at creating and configuring these "bots" if we like to do more than eat, drink, fornicate and live in barracks housing?
Genetic drift tends to draw a population to the "norm".
Given that some people will be "displaced" due to poor career choices do we really want to sterilize anyone on Welfare? What if a few on welfare decide to educate themselves and join those who design and configure the "bots"? Will being on welfare become an automatic "sterilization" sentence?
Wrong! Computers and automation will take away more of the drudgery of life, and that open up the opportunity for more people to do more creative endeavors. There will still be sluggards and welfare drones, but they will get their checks from a robot! Think about how all those bureaucrats can be replaced with robots – if we have the political will to do it!
Learn how to fix the robots.