Will a robot take your job? Better look out…

From John Mauldin at Mauldin Economics:

The problem is less about jobs disappearing than about the automation of particular tasks that are part of our jobs. In most cases, employers can’t simply fire a human, plug in a robot, and accomplish all the same things at the same or better performance level but lower cost. You have to zoom in closer and look at the tasks that each job entails, and ask which of them can be automated. The roughneck jobs in the oilfield are a good example: The Iron Roughneck doesn’t replace all workers on the rig, just some of them.

So when McKinsey says that 23% of US “current work activity hours” will be automated by 2030, that’s not the same as saying 23% of jobs. The shift will affect almost all jobs to some degree. That 23% figure is their “midpoint” scenario, too. In the “rapid” scenario it’s 44% of US current work activity hours that will be handed over to machines.

In other words, whatever your job is, some part of it will likely get automated in the next decade or so. That might be good news if the machines can take on the repetitive drudgery that you don’t enjoy. Automation could free you to do things that are more interesting to you and more valuable to your employer. But outcomes are going to vary widely… More.

Reality check: The single biggest problem isn’t that people won’t have jobs. Mom’s basement may not be a bad place to live rent-free, with food, beer, and pot vouchers, also free internet and health care. No, the problem is that ambitious surplus people will become local PC enforcers — raising hell with the people that machines can’t just replace, on any pretext they have all the time in the world to dream up…

See also: Leftworld: WLU’s Lindsay Shepherd’s stand against bullying just “white women’s tears”