Will automation bring jobs back to the US?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Peter Hicks



Will automation bring jobs back to the US?

Before answering your question, let me describe automation. Automation is noticing but creating a system to handle things by itself without the need for anyone. Something similar to industrialization but at the software level.

Initially, automobiles, automobiles, and other things were made by human hands, but industrialization replaced the human with the machine. Automation, on the other hand, is software that can handle basic analog decisions (yes / no) and later complex decisions once artificial intelligence is created to replace many jobs that required human intervention at some points.

So automation will actually decrease the number

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Before answering your question, let me describe automation. Automation is noticing but creating a system to handle things by itself without the need for anyone. Something similar to industrialization but at the software level.

Initially, automobiles, automobiles, and other things were made by human hands, but industrialization replaced the human with the machine. Automation, on the other hand, is software that can handle basic analog decisions (yes / no) and later complex decisions once artificial intelligence is created to replace many jobs that required human intervention at some points.

Therefore, automation will actually reduce the number of jobs. Some jobs will still be created, to take care of the automation system, but the ratio would be something like 1: 4, where automation will increase 1 highly skilled job at the cost of decreasing 4 normal skilled job. The only way this job will end up going to the US is if there is no country that can provide such a skills qualification at a cheaper price. What will not happen.

Other offshore centers such as phillipean, manilla are not yet good enough to accept highly skilled jobs, but China and India are able to accept these jobs at a lower cost.

Now automation will greatly reduce the cost of human resources, let's say initially 10 people were required, now only 5. Let's consider that the company has to pay x extra if the work is done in the US So initially they were saving 10 times, but now they will only save 5 times by outsourcing. Will that savings be greater than transportation is a big question? In addition, we must not forget the material costs and other aspects.

Now I will consider two companies A and B. A is a large company that needs 500 workers, so A is saving 500 times and will therefore prefer to outsource as the savings are still greater than transportation. Because of this, other companies that provide parts or raw materials will also remain outsourced.

Company B needs 10 workers, so outsourcing will not be profitable due to the cost of transportation. But they cannot avoid the transportation cost as the raw material must be imported (remember that due to company A, the raw product company will not return). Therefore, it is better to outsource and import final products.

Be aware that some small businesses will still find all raw material homemade, but the cost will be high. There will be exceptions where a company will still find it affordable, but it would be far less compared to the number of jobs lost due to automation. Also keep in mind that automation will also cut many jobs in the US.

So to conclude that automation will not bring many industries back to the US, it will simply reduce the number of jobs.

Bring jobs. But what kind of jobs?

If I create a machine that replaces 20 people, am I employing another 20 people in the process? Not quite. You could have a team of 20 engineers building 100 machines that effectively displaces 2,000 people. Sure, I'm employing 20 well-trained high-value employees, but it also means I'm not employing hundreds of others.

There are other supporting roles as well. You would need multiple mechanics to keep the machines running. I would need validation specialists to make sure the machine is in a state of control. Metrology to measure and check

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Bring jobs. But what kind of jobs?

If I create a machine that replaces 20 people, am I employing another 20 people in the process? Not quite. You could have a team of 20 engineers building 100 machines that effectively displaces 2,000 people. Sure, I'm employing 20 well-trained high-value employees, but it also means I'm not employing hundreds of others.

There are other supporting roles as well. You would need multiple mechanics to keep the machines running. I would need validation specialists to make sure the machine is in a state of control. Metrology to measure and check on machines. However, any of those people would likely receive a lower salary than the people they would replace.

There are other conversations about moving those people into a service industry. After all, these 20 well-trained high-value employees are contributing money to their local economies. But is the economy building enough to make up for the manufacturing jobs they have replaced?

Perhaps, but even if manufacturing picks up, it just won't provide as many jobs as in the past. In an automated manufacturing process, you only need a handful of people to design, maintain, repair, and more. the machines.

I think automation is often overlooked as one of the root causes of job loss in the West. There is a lot of focus on the threats of outsourcing and free trade, moving jobs to other countries, but automation will have a much more profound impact. Not only are you eliminating manufacturing jobs, but you will soon make all trucking, retail, and service jobs obsolete, and

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Perhaps, but even if manufacturing picks up, it just won't provide as many jobs as in the past. In an automated manufacturing process, you only need a handful of people to design, maintain, repair, and more. the machines.

I think automation is often overlooked as one of the root causes of job loss in the West. There is a lot of focus on the threats of outsourcing and free trade, moving jobs to other countries, but automation will have a much more profound impact. Not only are you eliminating manufacturing jobs, but you will soon make all trucking, retail and service jobs obsolete, and probably much more.

That is a good theory. But what jobs will it bring back?

Perhaps construction, one-time construction of the new plant and installation of automated machinery, and ongoing technical expert jobs servicing automated machines.

However, much less semi-automatic assembly labor. The guys who were laid off when the jobs were exported. So when factories are reintroduced to the US, these people will still be out of work unless they receive advanced technical training. Which, it's questionable whether they could or would have gotten better jobs.

The reasons for outsourcing jobs are many. First is the relative valuation of the coin. If the US dollar is strong, then the price of US manufactured goods is high and it is difficult to sell. The second is the quality of the work. Workers in many foreign countries are very skilled and precise, and they do things well. The third is the cost of labor. The fourth is the absence of government regulations on the environment and working conditions. The fifth is to avoid protracted logistical problems by bringing goods closer to local markets.

Automation can exceed 2 to 4 and, with higher productivity and unit production, 1 is man

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The reasons for outsourcing jobs are many. First is the relative valuation of the coin. If the US dollar is strong, then the price of US manufactured goods is high and it is difficult to sell. The second is the quality of the work. Workers in many foreign countries are very skilled and precise, and they do things well. The third is the cost of labor. The fourth is the absence of government regulations on the environment and working conditions. The fifth is to avoid protracted logistical problems by bringing goods closer to local markets.

Automation can exceed 2 to 4, and with higher productivity and unit output, 1 is manageable. If you go to the factories in the United States today, you will see far fewer workers and many more computer-controlled machines doing the job. Automation is bringing manufacturing to the US but with far fewer workers.

I'm not sure of any examples in the US so far, but Adidas has opened a fully automated factory in Germany. Since it will require a certain amount of electricity and maintenance, then yes, if automation continues, it will bring in more jobs. It would be more efficient for manufacturing facilities to be as close to consumers as possible, as long as land prices, taxes, or environmental laws are not too rigid.

Especially directly, you will probably reduce them mainly in industries such as accounting and clerical work.

but indirectly by making products cheaper, in the hope of including essential expenses such as housing and food. It will increase non-essential spending by creating more jobs in non-essential areas, many of them, although not yet labor-based, less low-skilled work, that is, people who spend more on games or movies or buy more equipment home automation.

Manufacturing is a risky business because capacity cannot easily expand or contract in response to market conditions without penalty or consequences, unless you become a globalized contract manufacturer that makes a broad portfolio of products, so that others Products and markets will remain stable if a product or market declines.

The massive investment required to set up large-scale manufacturing does not favor the West, and it is not just automation or labor cost, but also national trade policies and business practices.

Many people have considered which jobs would be least likely to be automated by robots.

Fortune (magazine) suggests that jobs for which there is abundant cheap labor will be safe from automation (these are the jobs least likely to go to robots). Line cooks, cleaners, farm workers, garment workers, and other workers with simple but not predictable jobs will be safe from automation for financial reasons. One of the possible consequences of raising the minimum wage would be the new economic viability of automating such jobs.

Any task facing the Uncanny Valley with

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Many people have considered which jobs would be least likely to be automated by robots.

Fortune (magazine) suggests that jobs for which there is abundant cheap labor will be safe from automation (these are the jobs least likely to go to robots). Line cooks, cleaners, farm workers, garment workers, and other workers with simple but not predictable jobs will be safe from automation for financial reasons. One of the possible consequences of raising the minimum wage would be the new economic viability of automating such jobs.

Any task facing the Uncanny Valley will be difficult to replace. People looking to interact with a human will settle for nothing less. Coach, manager, psychologist, counselor, nurse, and other interactions with a certain level of intimacy will be difficult to replace. Overcoming this barrier has become a major focus for Japan, where the demographic reversal caused by low birth rates and an aversion to interacting with foreigners has led to a concerted effort to build empathetic robots for caring for people. greater. Japan is running out of people to care for the elderly, so it is making robots instead. I suspect that most societies will have a higher level of resistance to that.

Tasks that require personal contact will also be difficult to automate. A robot dental hygienist, cosmetologist or hairdresser will not be welcomed by many. The same for a surgeon, dentist, or physical therapist. I don't really like it when a post-Singularity bag of screws gets too close to me with a sharp object. I've seen that movie.

It will be difficult to replace artists of all kinds, be they artists, sculptors, painters, chefs, musicians or writers. Although some artificial intelligence robots have devoted themselves to the creation of technical articles and books, it is unclear how the distillation of human experience into encapsulated work will be easily replicated in the near future. Anyone who tells me, "But, Deep Sleep !!" I will refer to the nearest local art gallery for rehabilitation. Or force them to listen to only Compressorhead performances for the rest of their lives.

If all else fails, the last human job will be a Blade Runner, although some moviegoers suggest that it has already been automated.

In any liberal economy, that is, capitalism, one important type of wealth generation is through increased productivity, the other is innovation. Investors receive a return on investment when that investment increases overall productivity or results in innovation that creates a new market. Restricting the way companies increase productivity short-circuits the whole idea of ​​capitalism. Automation is currently the main engine to increase productivity. Furthermore, trying to control productivity growth will have unknown negative effects on innovation.

The problem with capitalism is that the wealth generated by

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In any liberal economy, that is, capitalism, one important type of wealth generation is through increased productivity, the other is innovation. Investors receive a return on investment when that investment increases overall productivity or results in innovation that creates a new market. Restricting the way companies increase productivity short-circuits the whole idea of ​​capitalism. Automation is currently the main engine to increase productivity. Furthermore, trying to control productivity growth will have unknown negative effects on innovation.

The problem with capitalism is that the wealth generated by increased productivity is rarely shared with the workers. All the newly generated wealth goes to a few. Rather than resist automation, perhaps a better approach could be for everyone, including investors, to benefit from it. How to do this? There are several approaches. Here are a couple of what comes to mind:

  1. Compensating all employees when increasing a company's productivity increases net profits, in other words, profit sharing.
  2. Employees replaced by automation should receive some kind of ongoing share of the profits generated by automation. This should also apply to workers displaced by offshoring.
  3. New companies building automated production and services must pay social security, medicare, and medicaid a reasonable annual tax on machinery.
  4. Restoring the progressive tax system destroyed by Reagan et al and reinvesting it in the country's infrastructure and the education of the people.
  5. Every worker should be a shareholder in a company. Change the SEC rules for privately owned companies so that all employees can participate in the sale of a private company. As of now, a midsize company cannot do that without being forced to go public. Employees should be allowed to sell their privately owned shares to the company or other employees when they leave for a fair price or have the option to keep the shares.
  6. Stop the damn wars now. The United States has spent $ 18 trillion on wars since the end of the Cold War. Think about what that kind of investment in our country could have done for all of us, including the business community.
  7. People who invent things should own at least part of the invention.
  8. The patent system should be completely rethought.
  9. The public domain must be restored to what it was before Reagan.

At some point in the next century, all jobs will be automated. AI will be smarter than our smartest scientists. Who will benefit? Some mega-billionaires? Or will we all live a better life?

The direction in which we are heading at the moment does not make any sense and is not sustainable. Will Jeff Bezos own it all, profit from all the robotics, while the rest of us are homeless? There would be no one to buy from your store. Clearly at some point the whole system will crash unless we change this. However, trying to stop the progress that is being made could actually prevent us all from having a better life. It is time for the rich few to stop being so greedy and share the wealth with the people who did the work to enrich them, which is all of us. Everyone has value.

Computerized workplace automation means modern factories look like this:

The same goes for the warehouse, farms, even offices:

Basically most of the work that is routine, repetitive, servile ... robots / computers are doing or will soon be doing. This is also eliminating entire levels of middle management that had been needed to supervise all those workers.

In the past, when one industry, for example buggies, was replaced by another, for example cars, displaced workers could quickly find another job. Which means that the bell-shaped curve of human intelligence still worked.

This fitted quite well with the range of mental abilities that

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Computerized workplace automation means modern factories look like this:

The same goes for the warehouse, farms, even offices:

Basically most of the work that is routine, repetitive, servile ... robots / computers are doing or will soon be doing. This is also eliminating entire levels of middle management that had been needed to supervise all those workers.

In the past, when one industry, for example buggies, was replaced by another, for example cars, displaced workers could quickly find another job. Which means that the bell-shaped curve of human intelligence still worked.

This fitted in quite well with the range of mental abilities that our ancestors needed for many millions of years, until the 1970s. What you needed to know to be a good hunter-gatherer, someone with an IQ of 100 could learn. The same goes for a farmer. A factory worker. One of the typing groups.

But now that bell-shaped curve has been reversed, when it comes to employment. The "free market" needs geniuses and room cleaners. Average Joes, not so much.

However, each new generation of humans emerges with the original distribution.

Note that ardent leftists don't believe any of this. Dogma holds that we are all born equal, and only education and circumstances make us grow different. This leads to the Democratic Party solution: job retraining and better education.

That beats the Republican solution, which is for all those unemployed to magically become entrepreneurs. Or just go.

But everything is a magical thought. These people want a job for someone else to pay for a high school education plus a hard job with a middle-class income. That's what Trump promised them. But it is what the orthodoxies of neither party can give them.

Yet there is a very strong interim solution, one that would drag on for more than a decade: repair and rebuild our nation's infrastructure, which has been largely neglected for more than half a century.

President Obama was asking for this for both terms of his presidency, but the Republicans said we had to reduce the national debt first, so no. They did not recognize that our nation's infrastructure is an integral part of our national debt, and just as loans must be paid with interest, and if you do not pay them, the interest increases more and more, so the cost of maintaining the infrastructure increases. . much higher if you put it off.

It's like driving a maintenance-free car until all the oil runs out and the engine stalls and then you need a new engine instead of an oil change. (True story: my alcoholic grandmother did exactly this with a 54 Chevy she owned.)

President-elect Trump has promised a major infrastructure overhaul ... and a huge tax cut. Only there is no way to do the renewal without a huge tax increase.

The odds of the Republican Congress passing a large tax increase for infrastructure renovation: zero.

Keep in mind that if Congress passes the tax increase and remodel, those jobs would be spread across the country, so many Rust Belt job seekers would have to relocate.

But that doesn't matter because it won't happen.

Well, Trump could pay for the remodel in other ways. He could borrow, which is the normal Republican way of paying for things, so that when the next Democratic president is elected, the Republican president can deliver the bill to the Democratic president, just as Bush II did with Obama. And then Republicans will call that Democratic president a big spender, of course. But Republicans say they are big debt hawks. That the Bush II debt-financed government was a fluke. Never more.

We'll see.

Or Trump could cut military spending in half to pay for it. Or remove the social safety net. Odds that Congress will pass the first: zero. Chances of Congress removing the social safety net ... well, that's more interesting. Many of them would love to do just that: end Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and any other government benefits or programs that billionaires don't need for themselves.

And the Republican grassroots would love to see the social safety net removed for everyone but rural white men and their wives, if they could be honest with themselves. However, it would be difficult to draft adequate legislation in a way that could be passed by the voting public. This is the age of racism that won't admit it, after all.

I suppose Trump and the Republican Congress will do nothing, but Trump will blame everything on the Democrats in some way. He has never let the facts get in his way. Why start now?

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