a dad wrote:To be clear, when I was talking about a ratio, I was not talking about a ratio of robots to people nor even the complete workforce. I was talking about human workers currently doing things machines can do compared to human workers fixing machines that have replaced people, regardless of how many machines we're talking about because in many cases one machine can replace multiple people. My ratio is jobs lost vs jobs gained, purely due to automation.
The humans fixing the machines will likely not be full time at one location, they'll be full time working for a robot manufacturing/fixing company that has them traveling to different locations to fix the machines, thereby servicing a greater number of machines than any one company runs.
There's also the jobs that won't necessarily be replaced soon, like R&D. But don't think most job can't get replaced eventually. The next Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, wants his hardees/Carls jr fast food restaurants run by machines, with zero human interaction, so changes toward automation may be welcome by the next administration. Even Carrier, who struck a deal to keep some jobs in the US, is looking to use the millions in taxpayer's money to help automate the Indiana jobs saved.
One obstacle for automation is the Unions, but so far they're unable to get a seat at the table when the next administration is cutting deals. They even get attacked for speaking up.
In my line of work I see one machine being installed that will directly take the job of 3 people, minimum, off the production line floor. 3 shifts a day, 5 days a week, one employee per shift, sometimes multiple per station depending on the application. That machine is built overseas in modular units to offer various capabilities for various products and assembled here. Most of the guys assembling the units are the service techs for the surrounding sales territory. Theres not that many of them. 12 or 15 guys that service the entire southeast region. The service itself on these machines is a lot of diagnosing the failed modular component and exchanging it, which in itself is a very friendly task suited to further future automation.
While the building and servicing of the machinery provides employment requiring a higher level skill set than catching a product coming out of a machine and putting it in a box the net effect is a lot of low wage/skill jobs being lost and a few higher wage / skill jobs being created.
"Adapt or die" isn't a humane philosophy.
"One obstacle for automation is the Unions, "
Yes, teachers unions being one of them. Education reform from top to bottom is critical.