The big debate about the future of work, explained

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Fernando Romera : ok, let them take the f***ing jobs, as long as the resulting increase in revenue comes back to society and not to a few shareholders

Yash Kshirsagar : The automation is different this time around though. Machines are smarter and are constantly learning thanks to AI, meaning they can potentially learn whatever new jobs humans get displaced to, and creating unemployment. On the other hand, if this automation leads to decreased production costs and end-consumer costs, we won't need to work for money in the traditional sense. Really hope it works out that way :)

Vox : Thanks for all the thoughtful comments and debate! For those recommending that I watch CGP Grey's video on this, I have of course seen it already! To understand the key difference between our arguments, consider his 'humans are the new horses' analogy. The point of my video is: Horses don't buy things. Consumption rises with productivity growth, and it expands into weird unpredictable places, and that's what the futurists of the past couldn't imagine. They thought we'd work 15-hour weeks by now. Instead we're buying smart phones and apps, watching netflix, and eating at restaurants. That said, I hope nobody takes this video to mean we shouldn't worry about the future. It's not that there won't be challenges, it's that we need to diagnose those challenges correctly and precisely. If we sit around waiting for mass unemployment to show up so that we can pass a basic income, we may find that those conditions don't arrive any time soon. The idea is to shift the focus from the number of jobs to the quality of jobs, the prospects for mobility, access to education and opportunity. That's not as sexy as daydreaming about a robot jobpocalypse, but it's truly the task at hand. We'll be discussing some of these topics in future episodes, so stay tuned. And thanks for watching :) -joss

JDiculous : Problems with this video: 1. Something not happening in the past doesn't mean that it won't happen in the future 2. Job automation DID cause massive job losses and suffering. Laborers protested, rioted, and died over this. 3. Job automation is already wrecking havock on the labor market, it's just not something some ivory tower economist will see looking at bullshit statistics (eg. unemployment rate) from his/her cubicle. Just look at all the unemployed/underemployed college graduates working retail jobs (my neighbor graduated from a top 3 public university with a STEM degree and is currently waiting tables at a restaurant), or the decimated areas in the rust belt. Everybody knows that free trade shipped factories overseas, but what doesn't get enough attention is that automation is responsible for a huge percentage of those jobs being lost. Again, you're not going to see this from some doctored unemployment figure. 4. The question isn't just about # of jobs, its about QUALITY of jobs. Unemployment rate can remain flat, but if 3 million truck drivers with middle class salaries start working minimum wage retail and personal care aid type jobs (the jobs with the most projected growth), then that's an impending disaster. 5. People need money to buy things. If they lose their jobs, then they can't buy things. I'm glad you're raising attention to this enormously important issue, but to suggest that we should carry on as though everything is ok while millions of Americans are in danger of getting their careers automated away is incredibly irresponsible at best, incredibly selfish at worst.

B-doe - ThatsHowitBdoe : A robot created the title...nice try.

[ Duwang_Mn ] : That's what the robots want you to think

David Reyna : In the future people will make money vlogging and entertaining each other

DarKMaTTeR : This argument reminds of the "Oil isn't running out, because we keep finding new oil reserves". Is oil infinite? No. Therefore it will run out. "We won't run out of jobs, because there are professions which aren't automatable". The missing word is "yet". Is there anything that a human can do and a robot can't? With AI and lab-grown tissues, the answer is no. There will be a day when robots will even give warmer hugs. It's not this generation's problem, but the day will come. That's not a bad thing in itself. It just means that the current design of our society, where everyone has to work in a market to earn a living, will simply become outdated. Capitalism will have to be replaced. The real problem is that the people with the power to change things are the ones who don't stand to lose.

Kayla B : what complete and utter BS... robotics caused the huge loss of industrial age jobs and right now, coders are having to code automation and we are automating ourselves right out of jobs. i am not an economist but i program automated tasks that eliminate jobs and will probably eliminate mine one day or force us all into one field which is data visualization and analytics.

Cédric Quenette : This time it's different. Before automation was only able to take over repetitive jobs; robots on a car assembly line simply need to repeat the assembly steps over and over, doors on subway trains only need to be opened and close etc. Now we are reaching a turning point in artificial intelligence, it is no longer robots just taking over repetitive tasks they are now able to challenge humans in intelligent and creative tasks. When a robot is as intelligent or more so than a human both logically and creatively, what jobs could there possibly be left for us to do?

Ryukachoo : Unemployable is the right way to put it. Machines have been replacing base tasks for a long time, but this new era can replace even very complicated tasks. All of the service industry, all of the transportation industry, all retail, will be very easily replaceable in a decade.

Azio Prism : *Kurzgezagt robots already made a better video about this.*

nobody:nogroup : I think the bigger problem is that we live in a society where more automation (less human labor required) is even potentially bad for people doing the work. Just think about that for a second and let it sink in how little sense that actually makes. Try to forget about the fact that we live in a system that requires work to get money to live. That idea is so ingrained in us that its hard to see past it, but try to question it or at least put it out of your mind for a few minutes. Isnt doing less work the fundamental driving force of human ingenuity? If a job is fully automated, then the work that people were doing isnt necessary anymore. As a collective whole we literally have to do less work to maintain our situation. And its not as if people *want* to work, especially not in the menial types of jobs that automation replaces. We want to work because we want money. And why do we have to work to make money? Because if we didnt work, those jobs that produce the things that we spend our money on wouldn't get done... except that they would... because they are automated, they dont require people working to function. As automation increases, the entire system collapses at a philosophical level. When all the jobs that produce our needs are automated then why do we work 8+ hours a day so that we can meet our needs? I realize that this is not the case yet, but think of how much less work is required now to meet basic needs than about 50 years ago. Why do we still work the same amount? Because in the current system we dont work for the product of our labor (in a collective/societal sense). We work so that we can buy the product of work (both human and automated) from the people who own it because they own the mechanisms through which that work is done (either by hiring human labor or buying automated labor). This is the problem

Blood Bath and Beyond - Pop Goes Metal Covers : Republicans are waiting to see what Democrats think about this issue before taking whatever the opposite stance is.

Enthused Norseman : Here's a thing that always strikes me about this near-total-automation scenario, where people are no longer employable: who will buy the goods and services that these robots and programs provide?

Robots must take jobs Immediately : We need freedom from all jobs immediately

Royalty Artworks : Why dont we try a moneyless economy? :) then this wouldn't even be an issue. Ahh if only.

schakalakadingdong : It's very naive to assume it would not be different this time! *A mechanical machine is one thing, a machine that can think and make decisions by itself is something different entirely.* I am worried that we lose a lot of jobs and only few new ones will arise, because right now there are no systems in place to make up for it. A split in society is most likely imminent, which could lead to civil wars once again...! That's why I believe an universal basic income should absolutely happen. That, and a massive reformation of education systems.

Satochi NAkamoto : I will try to make it simple for you. YOU'RE wrong this time. It involves complex math, micro, macro economic 's, and finance. 2016 the world purchased $91 billion in robots. 2020 projections, if realized expected $198 billion used to purchase robots.. Jobs that robots do now ejecting human labor from those jobs forever. Kiva robotics owned by Amazon numbers in excess of 100,000 robots in 110 warehouse 's replacing humans. A Locus robot is more advanced than Kiva 's. Costing $40,000 each that can replace a Walmart human that can replace items that need to be put on the shelves. If a human worker stocking shelves earns $13.33 per hour, the Robotic worker pays for its purchase price on the 126th day, working 24 hours a day times 125 days times $13.33 per hour. 126th day for the next decade Walmart doesn't have to pay a human worker.168 hours in a week. The one Locus Robot will replace 4.5 human workers. 100,000 Locus Robots will replace and permanently end 450,000 human jobs. So the store paying the human worker to stock the shelves is still expending $13.33 per hour where the other one using the robot is not. The robot doesn't need dental or health insurance.

Nate Foster : Back in the 1920, machines took over the jobs with hands. But today, computers are taking over the jobs with brains. That’s why it’s different today.

LRGD : they aren't just robots, they are neural networks, basically learning machines, they're far more advanced and have the power to learn an infinite amount, we should be worried if we don't regulate

Ydur Senun : One massive problem has been forgotten: the future birth rate decline. In a near future humans won't have undesired pregnancy anymore. The people you see in the streets 9 out of 10 came to existence from a unplanned pregnancy. The long term contraceptives are coming and they come to stay. We will have total control of birth rates very soon. Sex and reproduction will be two different things. The Earth's population will plunge in such way that ghost cities will be quite common and lack human of labor will force humans turn to robots.

John Smith : That's why I'm a communist.

bvoq : Is it really a bad thing if humans have to work less?

Duskears : Hey Vox, remember that time you predicted Hillary Clinton would win the election? This is another one of those times.

Sam Williams : What a dumb dumb video. This time is not like the industrial revolution. This time the goal is general purpose AI. And ai that can do literally and job and every job.

Courtney S. : At 5:37 it activated my Google Assistant.

Christopher Stone : You have fundamentally missed the point. Automation will NOT replace human labor. As half of your video proves, this has been talked about ad nauseam. **Machine Intelligence will replace Humans**. In the same way the car has replaced horses, humans will be replaced.

Emad Ze : I love her sound!

poppet pala : *_COUGH_* tesla gigafactory *_COUGH_*

Mihir Patel : Yeah but, not everyone is skilled. So we will still loose jobs.

CatVision TV : In the 20s and 30s there was the Great Depression... it lasted 10 years... FDR was elected made Social Security and welfare. UBI is needed ... Yang 2020!

Jessie james : what people miss is that an a.i. powered humanoid robot will do any job. in the past, automation would only kill 1 job at a time. soon, 1 robot will kill all jobs.

SuperMechguy : We won't even need Vox presenters anymore .

Craig Rosario : lol, If we create robots/AI to make ours lives better, why wouldn't it be vice versa. Why would people needs jobs when they won't exist anymore, one day as humans evolved, so will robots/AI. Think about what the past generations did? So many wild life gone, even currently, just cos people don't need them/or care about anything other then just themselves, so why wouldn't a robot/AI? If I were a robot/AI, trust me humans would be a waste of my energy to just keep them alive. I would be better off with them, creating clones of myself to get my job done better & maybe if i learn a bit of about human kind, I might just keep the birds, animals, insects, trees, even a little bit of humans alive, but in a cage for entertainment. ;)

dave c : You are my favorite reporter at vox. Good job with this video, it helped me see the issue in a different light. For me I first heard about this issue from CPG grey's video: human's need not apply. I have happy to see the new side of the issue but I am still skeptical of both sides. Only time will tell.

DiverGaming : 3 words. *UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME*

Itbelink : This video misses three important elements. One, as they say, the economy does in fact correct for this, but it's because everyone is forced to continue working to pay for things they need, so they end up developing new products and services, therefore jobs, to fill the gap. That will continue to happen like it has in the past. The video merely missed that as the actual reason for their argument is partially true. Two, this time is different because of the magnitude of displaced jobs and creation of new jobs. Even if we create new jobs like mentioned in number one, it won't be long before a machine will also duplicate that job too. We won't be able to outpace new products and services with the amount that machines replace. And three, we will hit leveling off or maximums in products and services where things are "enough" for everyone and there will be less incentive to want or need more. We already see this effect in food production. We still have time to get to a leveling off of many many things, but it will not be coming in the next 20 years for sure. The only thing that might change that, would be transportation. If we take to the skies or increase ability to travel, then consumption will continue to grow.

:o: : Did not happen in the past --> Will not happen in the future... That seems like a pretty weak argument. Until now jobs have not been eradicated, because humans could shift from physical to intelligence jobs. And that is the last refuge that is now being tackled by AI.

MisterWilly : Dear reporter person in this video; may I offer you a coffee sometime? Sincerely, a fan.

Hamzah Patel : But automation is different this time. New industries require far less workers than the industries they're replacing

johanna vaiz : I live in Ontario Canada. We are putting into place in the next 10 yrs a standard living wage allowance. Which means you will get a check from the government if you don't earn enough $. This is happening to Ontario because of robots and the Canadian government says we won't have jobs do to technology....... In Toronto where I'm from Google has bought some of our lake front where they will have a Google test site with robots and driverless cars . This test site is to be tested on the people of Toronto..... VOX YOU ARE BSing US!!!!!!!!

Mr.Sceptic : Also, in some overpopulated countries like India, Pak, Bengaldesh a human will always be cheaper than a robot.

Joe Capo : This video was made by evil robots

Outkast : I don't get it isn't the whole point to not work isn't that why we're making robots in the first place if there's no jobs then there's no people to buy stuff from the people that have the robots so it'll Force the people that have the robots to lower their prices and maybe we'll just get a wadge from the government not such a big problem when you realize that the whole point is to not work

Joey Jonson : If the profits from automation were redistributed to society maybe we could all just work less eh? If productivity is maintained and the same goods and services are produced there should be no issue, other than a reduction in the repulsive decadence of the master class. But they will always find a reason to make us work (through the invisible hand of the market of course), even if it's utterly frivolous and unproductive work, THAT'S why productivity per working hour doesn't increase. The explosion of service jobs is a desperate effort to grovel at the feet of the few who now own everything, to pry from their iron grip a mere pittance to get by. It produces NOTHING. And while IT is highly productive in certain respects (though a waste of human effort in others), by its nature it concentrates wealth in the few who set the machines to work on their behalf. Massive automation can be a good thing, but not when market forces control the process and the outcome. We will either be freed or discarded.

Al F : In my opinion yes. People are becoming lazy and don’t want to do work. So we use technology as an advantage to do things for us. We I live many shopping malls and small businesses like Kmart or big lots are closing. Because of increase of online orders. Which is another reason why many people in my city are also unemployed or have low paying jobs. In my opinion robots are in the same category of technology.

Ashish Krishna Pandey : "People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake." - Michael J. Scott

Vladimir Jovanovic : Robots will create new jobs, correct, but they will also be able to do those 'new jobs' as well. That's the entire issue

Courtney S. : Opening new stores won't mean new jobs in the future. Ever heard of Amazon? You can just sit at home and have whatevet item you want come to you. Also, Amazon is trying to make stores where you can walk out and it scans the item without a cashier.