Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Problem Isn't Robots Taking Our Jobs. It's Oligarchs Taking Our Power

The Problem Isn't Robots Taking Our Jobs. It's Oligarchs Taking Our Power

The Problem Isn't Robots Taking Our Jobs. It's Oligarchs Taking Our Power
Training for the jobs of the future keeps workers trapped as long as workers can't shape how technology is used and who profits from it



Each week workers are confronted with yet another article touting the threat of technology wiping out their jobs. A recent “60 Minutes” segment featured venture capitalist and author Kai-Fu Lee predicting that advances in artificial intelligence would “in 15 years displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.”
The message to workers is clear: the threat of obsolescence is real, so act accordingly.The advice of the World Economic Forum, the McKinsey Global Institute, and others, is that workers must “reskill” in order to have a livelihood available to them.
For workers, though, this advice is a trap.
Organizing unions and developing pathways to ownership is the best way workers can address the anxiety of the so-called “automation age,” not chasing the labor market demands of elites.
The presumed aspirant tech moguls of the automation age acknowledge that your current, barely-making-ends-meet job is going to get squeezed, shortchanged, or wiped out altogether by a robot or an algorithm. But go back to school (and take on some student debt) and get training in a new skill, and you will not only be able to weather the change but you’ll make even more money.
This prescription will only work however if workers refuse to question the paradigms that preserve the wealthy’s control of the game, and they coded it so they will always ultimately win. Practically, the “reskilling” that workers achieve will simply serve to lower the cost currently existing tech labor without any assurances that such sectors will be immune from “disruption” in a few years by the next wave of automation.
Ultimately, the better advice for workers seeking to avoid “disruption” is to become the agents of disruption themselves. What 21st-century workers need is what workers have always needed: power. Organizing unions and developing pathways to ownership is the best way workers can address the anxiety of the so-called “automation age,” not CONTINUE READING: The Problem Isn't Robots Taking Our Jobs. It's Oligarchs Taking Our Power



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