Is Technology Replacing or Displacing Workers?

Is Technology Replacing WorkersAn article in The Atlantic asked once again Is Technology Replacing Workers?

The Details: Is Technology Replacing Workers…or is it Displacing?

Two dichotomies

Technology cuts into tasks that were previously performed by humans. Thus humans have become victims of technological unemployment.

At the same time, managers report that they have great difficulty hiring enough workers with the requisite skills to deal with the new technology.

There are important historical facts to consider.

  • Television has not replaced radio
  • The Internet did not eliminate radio or television but actually enhanced it.
  • ATMs did not eliminate bank tellers. In fact more tellers were hired as a result.

Changing trends in the jobs arena due to advances in technology usually ups the ante. When farm tractors replaced horses, if you could be trained to drive a tractor the new skill commanded increased wages.

In 1916 Frederick Winslow Taylor made a similar argument in the now classic, The Principles of Scientific Management. “Whenever any labor-saving device is introduced into any trade the result has universally been to make work for more men, not work for less men.”

What is the best solution to either perspective above? The answer is adaptability, development and growth. As technology escalates workers must be escalating their capabilities too. This is how to stay relevant. You make yourself a more valuable asset, important, irreplaceable.

The focus should not be on the end of jobs available but on the new possibilities that are emerging due to technology. Look around, see what needs to be done, what jobs or (better) what roles are in the future going to be critical.

I’ve said it before. If you are not growing, you’re probably falling behind.


Final note: Please don’t tell me it’s raining. But rather, help me find an umbrella.


©Brian Braudis, 2019 All rights reserved.

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