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Tech is eliminating jobs. Is it creating them, too?

Business Technology | March 13, 2014

Improving technology offers benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, it greatly improves our life. Just look at smartphones. We can now search for our favorite Chinese restaurant, watch movies and search the Internet all on our phones. So what’s the problem with technology? Often it means the loss of jobs. New tech will make plenty of steady jobs obsolete. This two-edged sword was recently looked into in an interesting new story by the Economist newspaper.


As the Economist story says, new technology has always led to a loss of jobs. This is something that’s been true from the dawn of time. The Economist’s example? A century ago, one in three U.S. workers toiled on a farm. Nowadays? Less than 2 percent of U.S. workers do any work on a farm.

More efficient

But owing to technology, farms in the United States are more productive than ever before, according to the Economist story. Farms today produce a lot more food than they did when so many more U.S. residents worked on them. Simultaneously, the laborers who left farm life found, thanks to technology, different jobs.

The problem

Finding those different jobs is key, naturally. It’s one thing for technology to eliminate jobs. This is OK if it provides enough alternative jobs at the same time. The problem today is that many people worry that tech is only eliminating jobs, not creating new ones. This, the Economist argues, is where governments step in. It’s up to the government to invest in continuing-education programs that will foster the creativity that today’s workers will need as a growing number of lower-skilled positions disappear. If the education system doesn’t change to meet the needs of today’s workers? The country — and the globe — may just be in serious trouble.


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