Tyler Cowen on the adjustment to growing automation

Despite the grim forecast, Tyler Cowen argues that western societies won’t collapse under the weight of future industrial change, but will eventually adjust to a new phase of ubiquitous automation—the period Brynjolfsson calls the ‘Second Machine Age’. However, he warns that evolution will take considerable time to play out.

‘If you look at the Industrial Revolution that starts in England say around 1780 and for a long time a lot of jobs do go away, wage gains are very slow, there’s a lot of volatility, it’s not really until the 1840s that real wages in England are going up significantly,’ he says. ‘So I think this time around it will actually be a lot like the last time. We will have a transition period of many decades. That will be tough for many people. In the very long run it will be splendid, but along the way it’s not always going to feel splendid. I think that is the historical pattern for a lot of these changes.’

There is more here, from Australian Radio National.


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