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'There's an Automation Crisis Underway Right Now, It's Just Mostly Invisible'

RSS Kategorie Pfeil IT Security Nachrichten vom | Quelle: hardware.slashdot.org Direktlink öffnen

"There is no 'robot apocalypse', even after a major corporate automation event," writes Gizmodo, citing something equally ominous in new research by a team of economists. merbs shared their report: Instead, automation increases the likelihood that workers will be driven away from their previous jobs at the companies -- whether they're fired, or moved to less rewarding tasks, or quit -- and causes a long-term loss of wages for the employee. The report finds that "firm-level automation increases the probability of workers separating from their employers and decreases days worked, leading to a 5-year cumulative wage income loss of 11 percent of one year's earnings." That's a pretty significant loss. Worse still, the study found that even in the Netherlands, which has a comparatively generous social safety net to, say, the United States, workers were only able to offset a fraction of those losses with benefits provided by the state. Older workers, meanwhile, were more likely to retire early -- deprived of years of income they may have been counting on. Interestingly, the effects of automation were felt similarly through all manner of company -- small, large, industrial, services-oriented, and so on. The study covered all non-finance sector firms, and found that worker separation and income loss were "quite pervasive across worker types, firm sizes and sectors." Automation, in other words, forces a more pervasive, slower-acting and much less visible phenomenon than the robots-are-eating-our-jobs talk is preparing us for. "People are focused on the damage of automation being mass unemployment," study author James Bessen, an economist at Boston University, tells me in an interview. "And that's probably wrong...." According to Bessen, compared to firms that have not automated, the rate of workers leaving their jobs is simply higher, though from the outside, it can resemble more straightforward turnover. "But it's more than attrition," he says. "A much greater percentage -- 8 percent more -- are leaving." And some never come back to work. "There's a certain percentage that drop out of the labor force. That five years later still haven't gotten a job." The result, Bessen says, is an added strain on the social safety net that it is currently woefully unprepared to handle.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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