Future of work

Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Economy

From the last weeks of the Obama White House, this is an exemplary analysis of increasing automation on the economy in general and on employment in particular, with a range of policy recommendations to address the challenges it identifies. It makes the important point that since variations in technology across the major economies cannot explain the differing impacts on employment, differences in policy and institutions must be having an effect. One example of that is very different national policies on the level of support offered to help people move from old jobs prone to automation to new jobs which are better protected from it.  The report is well worth reading, but is also helpfully summarised in a commentary in the current MIT Technology Review.

Executive Office of the President


Universal basic income

Basic Income: A Sellout of the American Dream

A critical look at the idea of a basic income, from a US perspective, arguing that costs and perverse incentives outweigh potential benefits – unemployed people given a basic income will tend to sleep and watch television, rather than develop new skills or seek new kinds of work. The premise of the article, though, is that new jobs are still being created, and that there is no evidence of structural unemployment from automation, so the implications if that were to happen are not explored.

David Freedman – MIT Technology Review