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The Solow Paradox

The Solow Paradox

The Solow Paradox suggests that automation and computerization aren't taking our jobs, but are adding to our overall workload, taking away our leisure time.

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The Automation Myth

For decades, we have believed that automation and huge leaps in technology will take away most of our jobs and there will be widespread unemployment.

A new study shows that this belief is incorrect. Job growth and living standards have continued to rise on an average scale.

Hours worked vs Income

The average working hours have declined only 6 percent, while income has increased at a decent rate per year.

The economy has actually grown even after automation, due to the addition of workers.

Usefulness of Technology

Smartphones and the internet haven't provided a sharp increase in productivity, as compared to the other revolutionary inventions like Television, Air-conditioning or Jet Planes.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • The past decade gave rise to the 'Gig' economy, spawning one-click app-based transactions.
  • Artificial Intelligence and automation are further transforming how people live and work.
  • The old-school jobs are now at risk of being obsolete or irrelevant.

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IDEAS

Two of the biggest innovations

Two of the biggest innovations of modern times are cars and airplanes. At first, every new invention looks like a toy. It takes decades for people to realise the potential of it.

  • Adolphus Greely, a brigadier general, was one of the first people outside the car industry to consider the usefulness of a "horseless carriage." He bought three cars in 1899 for the U.S. Army to experiment with. It was envisioned to be used as transportation of light artillery such as machine guns, to carry equipment, ammunition, and supplies.
  • The Wright brothers saw the prospects of their new flying machine to be used as a reconnoitering agent in a time of war. The U.S. Army purchased the first "flyer" in 1908.

Low-skill jobs, where 70% of the responsibilities are predictable physical and cognitive tasks, are straightforward to automate, especially as automation technology becomes cheaper than paying a human to do the same job.

  • Outside an office environment: The jobs that will be affected are things like retail employees and warehouse workers.
  • Inside an office: Jobs vulnerable to automation are data entry, filing, and document review.