The diagnosis and the cure of automation

Source: John Hauer, Techcrunch, July 25, 2016

A while back I was flipping through my Facebook feed and stumbled across an interesting post from Jeremiah Owyang. He challenged people to, “name one job in the future that won’t be automated.” A bunch of different ideas popped into my head. Everything from doctors and lawyers to artists and athletes. One by one, I crossed them off the list. In the end I was stumped. I couldn’t think of one job that someday won’t be dehumanized. I’ve said before there is always a tipping point — a specific number when it makes more sense to solve a problem with technology than it does to solve it with labor. But even then, the transition is rarely instantaneous or glaringly obvious. It usually happens over several iterations. Jobs don’t just vanish, they evaporate. That got me thinking about the process of automation. How does it happen? Are we running down hill trying to eliminate one job at a time, or are we walking down hill trying to eliminate them all?….