Current or near-term jobs in manufacturing are not the critical issue. We are rapidly entering the Age of Transformation, a period in which change will continue to accelerate until it comes at us blazingly fast. And I’m not talking about just the introduction of new technologies; employment and job creation are also changing extraordinarily quickly.
Let’s look at the impact of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles. I am told they are actually available in beta form in Sweden, made by Volvo. Elon Musk promises us an autonomous car by 2020. I wouldn’t want to bet against the man, but I think 2022–23 is more realistic. Then there’s going to be an explosion. Estimates are that by 2030 25% of vehicles will be autonomous. (I want to thank my friend David Galland in his recent column for pointing me to a summary of these figures.) I agree with David that the 2030 figures is likely to be far higher than 25%. The adoption of new technologies happens faster every year. Here’s a chart he used:
And that is just one industry and one technology. Maybe it’s one of the bigger, more dramatic examples, but there are literally hundreds of new technologies that are going to eat up jobs faster than they create them. There are literally tens of millions of jobs in just the US alone that will probably vanish over the next 20 to 30 years. Of course, we have to remember that many jobs have disappeared with the introduction of new technologies every decade for the last 200 years, so this is not exactly something new. The difference is that now it’s happening much, much faster. Rather than moving from the farm to the factory to the office over 10 generations, we will be creating, destroying, and remaking whole industries in half a generation, making the always bumpy transition to a new workforce that much more difficult.
John Mauldin is among the best at seeing into the future, read the entire article HERE