It turns out robots aren’t going to take our jobs. Rather, the technological advancements have sparked a plethora of new employment opportunities.
A report from Deloitte that looked back through the census results in England and Wales for the past 140 years found that, far from doing away with the labour force, the rise of machines has proved a job creator.
Entitled Technology and people: The great job-creating machine, economists Ian Stewart, Debapratim De and Alex Cole found that areas like hairdressing and bar work have seen “fourfold” rises in staff on the back of increased spending power.
This spending power is due to the rise in machines, leading a nice circuit back to a positive conclusion: technology is good for us.
Technology taking over jobs, well, some jobs
There are areas of industry that will be replaced, though, often the more laborious, painful and terribly cumbersome.
For example, agricultural work has changed significantly in the last century and a half, with 0.2pc of the English and Welsh workforce (down a massive 95pc on 1871 figures) currently employed in that ‘field’.
Other labour-heavy roles like clothes washing are cited in the report as almost vanishing with the dawn of modern technology.
“A collision of technologies, indoor plumbing, electricity and the affordable automatic washing machine have all but put paid to large laundries and the drudgery of hand-washing,” said the report.
Humans going nowhere, for now
“Machines will take on more repetitive and laborious tasks, but seem no closer to eliminating the need for human labour than at any time in the last 150 years.”
Rather than rueing the loss of these roles, the report cites a distinct shift towards care, education and services providing the jobs of today.
Accountants, medical professionals and teachers are now in far larger numbers than before, with plummeting food, transport and housing costs showing that maybe, just maybe, these robots aren’t so bad after all.
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