The Rich and Their Robots Are About to Make Half the World’s Jobs Disappear
Le Monde nous apprenait hier que le nombre de chômeurs ne cessait d’augmenter au niveau mondial, 202 millions aujourd’hui, 218 en 2018.
Mais il semblerait que ce ne soit que le début d’une catastrophe à venir : 47% des emplois pourraient être détruits par la robotisation d’après cet article de Vice.
Two hugely important statistics concerning the future of employment as we know it made waves recently:
1. 85 people alone command as much wealth as the poorest half of the world.
2. 47 percent of the world’s currently existing jobs are likely to be automated over the next two decades.
Combined, those two stats portend a quickly-exacerbating dystopia. As more and more automated machinery (robots, if you like) are brought in to generate efficiency gains for companies, more and more jobs will be displaced, and more and more income will accumulate higher up the corporate ladder. The inequality gulf will widen as jobs grow permanently scarce—there are only so many service sector jobs to replace manufacturing ones as it is—and the latest wave of automation will hijack not just factory workers but accountants, telemarketers, and real estate agents.
That’s according to a 2013 Oxford study, which was highlighted in this week’s Economist cover story. That study attempted to tally up the number of jobs that were susceptible to automization, and, surprise, a huge number were. Creative and skilled jobs done by humans were the most secure—think pastors, editors, and dentists—but just about any rote task at all is now up for automation. Machinists, typists, even retail jobs, are predicted to disappear.
And, as is historically the case, the capitalists eat the benefits.
Les chiffres sont en fait issus d’un édito de The Economist :
Le journal est si peu susceptible d’être critique de la technologie, ils sont si étonnés par leur propre audace, qu’ils prennent des précautions oratoires en début d’article :
For those, including this newspaper, who believe that technological progress has made the world a better place, such churn is a natural part of rising prosperity. Although innovation kills some jobs, it creates new and better ones, as a more productive society becomes richer and its wealthier inhabitants demand more goods and services. A hundred years ago one in three American workers was employed on a farm. Today less than 2% of them produce far more food. The millions freed from the land were not consigned to joblessness, but found better-paid work as the economy grew more sophisticated. Today the pool of secretaries has shrunk, but there are ever more computer programmers and web designers.
Pour passer de 33 % à 2% d’employés dans le secteur agroalimentaire, ça aura coûté une catastrophe écologique et humaine, mais passons.
En fait, The Economist est terrifié par les perspectives sociales d’une telle évolution :
If this analysis is halfway correct, the social effects will be huge. Many of the jobs most at risk are lower down the ladder (logistics, haulage), whereas the skills that are least vulnerable to automation (creativity, managerial expertise) tend to be higher up, so median wages are likely to remain stagnant for some time and income gaps are likely to widen.
Anger about rising inequality is bound to grow, but politicians will find it hard to address the problem.
Et de conclure sur une mise en garde :
Innovation has brought great benefits to humanity. Nobody in their right mind would want to return to the world of handloom weavers. But the benefits of technological progress are unevenly distributed (…). Today’s governments would do well to start making the changes needed before their people get angry.
Pas sûr que les changements mis en place par les gouvernants soient alors fondamentalement démocratique étant donnés les moyens de contrôle que permettent aujourd’hui le numérique (cf. ▻http://seenthis.net/messages/219551 )