by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism
Yves here. One of the high potential areas for robot substitution that I see on the list below is staffing of fast food restaurants (as in cooking). Fast food restaurants have limited menus and pre-set, highly specified procedures, making them prime candidates for labor substitution. But notice also the high end professional on the list.
I have to differ a little with the cheery, “Better policy will create new/different jobs.” What passes for our leadership believes in the mantra of more education and more skilled workers as the answer. In fact, America is going in reverse in this category, as educational attainment has fallen and college and higher education costs rise into the stratosphere. Moreover, the notion that there is a raft of highly technical jobs with lots of unmet demand is a canard. As we’ve discussed at some length, STEM graduates are finding it hard to obtain work (see confirming evidence in The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage from the Atlantic last year). And even if that were an area of hot demand, not everyone has the aptitude and self-discipline to become highly skilled in highly technical fields (and rarefied expertise make your more vulnerable, since if conditions in your field change, you need to acquire new know-how to move into a different area). The Japanese believe that it is critical for society to generate enough paid work, hence their refusal to rationalize a highly inefficient retail sector and belief that the most important duty of an entrepreneur is to create jobs. We’ve completely lost sight of this need. Read the entire story.