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Automation AnxietyWhy and How to Save Work$
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Cynthia Estlund

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197566107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197566107.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 December 2021

Forecasting the Impact of Automation on Jobs

Forecasting the Impact of Automation on Jobs

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Forecasting the Impact of Automation on Jobs
Source:
Automation Anxiety
Author(s):

Cynthia Estlund

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197566107.003.0002

Chapter 2 digs more deeply into the outlook for job destruction and job creation, and adds some theory and data to Chapter 1’s anecdotes about how machines can replace human workers. It reports an emerging consensus among leading scholars that automation is already contributing to the polarization, or hollowing out, of the labor market by destroying more middle-skill jobs than it is creating. And it reports on the more concerning prediction—still a minority view though more than plausible—that machines are destined to produce overall net job losses as they continually whittle away at humans’ comparative advantages. The chapter arrives at a working premise for the rest of the book that straddles those two forecasts: We are facing a future of less work—at least less work for those with ordinary human skills and without advanced education, and perhaps less work overall. While that straddle might seem untenable, either forecast is similarly bleak for most workers—if we do not respond constructively; and when it comes to the shape of a constructive response, both forecasts point largely in the same direction.

Keywords:   future of work, automation, job polarization, technology and work, economics of automation

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