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Stories From The Field 24. June 2018

‘The Future of Work’ and ‘Human + Machine’ Review: Reckoning With the Robots

Featured in The Wall Street Journal

Automation rarely outright destroys jobs. It instead augments—taking over routine tasks while humans handle more complex ones. Oren Cass reviews “The Future of Work” by Darrell M. West and “Human + Machine” by Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson.

Most Americans once survived hand to mouth, season to season. Technology (thankfully) destroyed their jobs. The result was not catastrophe but prosperity, because the dynamic lamented in modern parlance as “job destruction” is also called “productivity growth.” If farmers become 25% more productive, eight can grow a crop that previously required 10. The other two might still farm, yielding more or better food for the community. Or they might become barbers, allowing everyone to enjoy comparable food and the latest hairstyles.

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